When you take on a considerable task - say, like the cause of conservation, which Aldo Leopold called “a world of wounds” - there is sometimes little opportunity to foresee the many troubles that will rise before you, mountains of adversity wild and cold. In times like these I have always been impressed by Sir Winston Churchill, who overcame immense barriers – in the world and in himself – to achieve victory. The best of his talents was inspiration, borne of much introspection and honesty. My favourite speech was his delivered to Harrow School, his alma mater, in 1941:
“You cannot tell from appearances how things will go. Sometimes imagination makes things out far worse than they are; yet without imagination not much can be done. Those people who are imaginative see many more dangers than perhaps exist; certainly many more than will happen; but then they must also pray to be given that extra courage to carry this far-reaching imagination.
But for everyone, surely, what we have gone through in this period…this is the lesson:
Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never, never–in nothing, great or small, large or petty–never give in, except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force. Never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”