If you have ever moved into an old house, not one just 10 or 20 years old, but like a 100 years old, you might have found stuff in the house, which was left by former owners. The oldest house we ever moved into was from 1850. It was on a farm in Norway. Besides of finding lots of old documents on the loft, we also found old tools, chests and boxes on that property. Some of these old objects we still have today.
Looking over other boxes I came across old books. Books which were leather-bound, or at least what looked like leather. Opening up one of them I realized it was an Enzyclopedia, Richards Enzyclopedia, last printing of 1947.
Nothing a French Canadian wants to know
I remember that people had Enzyclopedia volumes before there was the Internet, before there was Wikipedia and long before Google ruled the virtual world.
Opening volume 7 the first I see is the image of an old Indian Chief. Headline: The American Indian. No name given! From the list of Contents I see:
The History of North America
The History of Canada
The History of Newfoundland a.s.o. a.s.o.
As a student I was only mediocre interested in history. That has changed and I could really dive head-first in this old book. I know, I know…I could find the same stuff on the Internet today. But it is much more fun to leaf through an old book. The pages have that old smell, originating from years of standing on a shelf in a living room and it kinds of underlines the fact that I read about history. One might say the smell has adjusted to the contents of the book.
But it is not only what I can read in this book, which i find so intriguing, it is also all these old photographs. And then, of course there is the choice of topics, like this one:
Can we save our crop lands?
The article is about strong environmental issues like the blowing away of fertile soil in dust storms. While I start reading the article I remember that America’s great depression was under the years of the dust bowl, or "’the dirty thirties” as they were called.
”Come with us to the great plains that sweep eastward from the Rockies to eastern Colorado, western Kansas, western Oklahoma or parts of Wyoming. We shall be in the famous American Dust Bowl, where land that once was green with grass and dotted with herds of cattle is now fast turning to desert”.
On the opposite page the article goes on with the vast clear cuts in forests leaving the land and slopes open to erosion.
Nature Always Takes Her Time
Now if you will read what we have said elsewhere in these books as to how the soil is made and what it consists of, you will understand why, once this precious stuff is gone, it is gone forever – or at least “forever'” as we reckon human time. Under natural conditions five hundred years are necessary to make only an inch of soil.
A strong reminder for sure to take care of nature and our agricultural fields.
I am full of anticipation for reading on through this old book (I have several volumes) and I think there might be more stuff to blog about in the days to come.
So stay tuned and THANKS for joining the little history session.
PS: Tomorrow is May 17, the National Celebration Day of Norway. Gotta hang out the flag!