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The Strenuous Life

Posted on January 18th, 2013

For some time, I have been reading The Wilderness Warrier by Douglas Brinkley, which I find to be a wonderful story of Theodore Roosevelt’s work as an early activist in the conservation movement.  Although, I cannot seem to find adequate time to sit and read, this book has been a delight for me, especially on business flights or in lonely hotel rooms.  It would be hard for me to say that I have a favorite Teddy Roosevelt quote, however, one that comes to mind these days is —

I wish to preach, not the doctrine of ignoble ease, but the doctrine of the strenuous life, the life of toil and effort, of labor and strife; to preach that highest form of success which comes, not to the man who desires mere easy peace, but to the man who does not shrink from danger, from hardship, or from bitter toil, and who out of these wins the splendid ultimate triumph.  The Strenuous Life:  Addresses and essays, Theodore Roosevelt, April 10, 1899.

With the good spirit of TR on my mind, I headed out for another day or Timber Stand Improvement at Old Man’s Timber.  This day, I was fortunate to have the help of three of my students, who also happen to be good friends.  We continued to clear understory brush and weed trees near the southern portion of the timber.  At times it seems like the progress is slow and the cause is hopeless, but by day’s end the advance to the north is measurable, the effort worthy, and the triumph splendid!

Chad, Ali and Nick pause for a moment after lunch

Chad, Ali and Nick pause for a moment after lunch

 

Here is a photo looking to the east before the start of the day, and a photo from a similar vantage point at the end of the day.

Early morning photo looking to the south towards my truck

Early morning photo looking to the south towards my truck

 

Looking south at the end of the day.

Looking south at the end of the day.

 

Sometimes I wonder, “why does nothing ever seem to come easy”, but then I ask “why should it”?  As Teddy Roosevelt reminds me, if it came easy, then it must not be worthwhile.  And quite honestly, I have never truly seen or experienced danger, hardship or bitter toil.  That which I may have thought to be hard, or difficult, most certainly pales in comparison to the true, deep and long-suffering troubles of others.

A hard day’s work at Old Man’s Timber is a humble reminder that I am blessed and should be thankful for all that has been given to me, especially for friends who appreciate The Strenuous Life!