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One man's chaos

It is immaterial that I do not cultivate trees in any sense that my father would recognize or could approve. I think I truly horrified him only once in my life, which was when, soon after coming into possession, I first took him around my present exceedingly unkempt, unmanaged and unmanageable garden. I had previously shocked him by buying a derelict farm; but its 30 acres of scrub and rough pasture were sanity (at least I let the keep and got some token yield from it) beside this new revelation of folly. He thought it madness to take on such a 'jungle,' and did not believe me when I said I saw no need to take it on, only to leave it largely alone, in effect to my cotenants, its wild birds and beasts, its plants and insects. He would never have conceded that it was my equivalent of his own beautifully disciplined apples and pears, and just as much cultivated , though not in a literal sense. He would not have understood that something I saw down there just an hour ago, at this moment I write -- two tawny owlets fresh out of the nest, sitting on a sycamore branch like a pair of badly knitted Christmas stockins and ogling down at this intruder into theirm garden -- means to me exactly what the Horticultural Society cups on his sideboard used to mean to him: a token of order in unjust chaos, the reward of perseverance in a right philosophy. That his ch aos happens to be my order is not, I think, very important.

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