Sunday, January 15, 2012

FEET ON THE EARTH, Part 2 of 2; Dr. Poling; 1939

Greer is 125 miles from the railroad, and the mail comes in three times a week. The only telephone connection with the outside world is by courtesy of the Forest Ranger. I haven't seen a newspaper for five days and I am a little anxious concerning foreign affairs; but yesterday and again today I caught my legal limit of trout, and as I write, the Little Colorado is singing loudly just outside my window. Across the deep canyon, the towering yellow pines have marched right into the heart of the moon. The quaking aspens, sister trees to the white birches of New England, are spectral fingers in the silvery light. I am strangely content. One of the year-round residents, whose family built Greer's first cabin forty years ago, remarked when a visitor complained about the remoteness: "People who want their mail more than three times a week shouldn't come here anyhow."

Well, there are still some things more important than the news--which is, of course, saying a great deal. The men and women who cherish the pioneer traditions of America and who live on the soil--East, West, North or South--are at times a vivid reminder to those of us who come from the cities that a man's life "consisteth not in the things he possesseth." Sharlot M. Hall, who was born on a Kansas farm and who, when twelve years of age, rode a Texas pony behind the covered wagon of her parents down the Santa Fe trail to Arizona territory, has written this philosophy for life into a single, noble verse:

"Greatness is born of greatness,
And breadth of a breadth profound;
The old Antaean fable
Of strength renewed from the ground
Was a human truth for the ages--
Since the hour of the Eden-birth,
That man among men was strongest
Who stood with his feet on the earth."