OCTOBER 31, 1938
WASHINGTON, Sunday—It rained yesterday when we awoke and I could not help thinking what a pity it is that we cannot make an arrangement with nature by which she could send rain to the spots which need it most. As we drove along in Georgia the other night, the sky was reddened by a forest fire and I could see no reason why it should not extend through a vast area because everything was so dry. In spite of the dryness, however, they were burning grass along the sides of the road.
An idea seems to persist that to burn the land enriches it. I believe this a fallacy, but even if it achieved the desired results, I cannot imagine anything more dangerous than to start a ground fire which may spread into the neighboring woods at a time when everything is dry. On Friday we came through land where, apparently, the same thing had happened, for all the lower branches of the pine trees were scorched and little trees were killed. These are signs of a wastefulness which makes one shudder in these days when every intelligent person realizes the need of tree conservation.
The dining car yesterday morning was crowded with young men, evidently a football team on its way to a game in the afternoon. The papers predicted that the rain would stop, though it would be gray all day. For the players' sake I hoped it would stop raining, for at their age a game is the most important thing in life. I was amused by three or four of the boys who had evidently decided to declare their independence of convention, and had come to breakfast with their shirts open at the collar and no neckties. They may, of course, have done it entirely without thinking, but they gave the impression of feeling very big and independent and above the ordinary amenities of dining car procedure.
That is one of the things which always makes one smile rather tenderly about young people—they are so courageous about the totally unimportant things. They will break any convention which doesn't matter, but only the exceptional ones among them will face the music when it comes to a fundamental thing where their fellow young people have real differences of opinion.
I am halfway through Anne Morrow Lindbergh's book: "Listen The Wind." I think she has a remarkably simple and lucid style. She has the poet's eye for beauty and is a trained observer. Her prose has a quality which makes it akin to poetry. I can only describe it by saying that I feel as though I were looking at a picture with the light shining on it. I need hardly tell you that I am enjoying the book and that I would recommend that everyone read it. Aside from its literary value, there is a quality of character involved which takes us right back to our pioneering days and makes us proud to belong to the race which preserves such characteristics.
It is grand to be home again. The President looks well and enjoyed his time at Hyde Park and, while he is buried in work for the time being, he looks forward to another visit there in the near future.