46 results for author: Dan Barth


Genuflecting In The Forest

Bearing witness to the carnage we of the Homo Sapiens lineage inflict on one another sours even the most optimistic of souls.  What thoughtful person among us is not dragged inexorably down the dark whirlpool when confronted by yet another mother ravaged by the violent destruction of her dearly beloved, big eyed child?  We use the language of hatred, spraying out machine gun words like terrorist, demon, migrant rapist, left wing thugs and countless others to make righteous our own terrorism and salve our night time pangs of guilt with their soothing unguent.  Sad indeed, that we continue to beat this age old drum of hatred and bloodletting just as ...

The Gift of Yellow Leaves

If there be wood sprites at play upon this land let them dress up in all the yellows of a late autumn day.  Glorious October yellow stands of unruly tamarack, meandering branches that twist and turn like dervishes, sublime with ecstasy, begin our journey across the enchanted north woods.  Poplar and birch, both paper and gray, rise up on sturdy, ballet toes, twirl exuberantly yellow beyond compare.  Even the few not yet naked maples glint yellow amid a myriad of other colors.  You would never call it an explosion of yellow, or accuse the lemon forest of being ablaze.  No, the lemon woods is too light, too sweet and far too happy for that.  It ...

Looking for Monarch Butterflies

Where my wife and I used to count twenty or more Monarch caterpillars per mile feeding on milkweed along the country road we live on, not so this year.  This past summer the most we counted in a one mile stretch was three.  Often there have been none.  While disappointing, it's not a huge surprise.  Monarch numbers are crashing, dropping by 85% in just the last two decades according to The Center for Biological Diversity.  There were around a billion of these delightful orange and black pollinators in 1996.  Today the Eastern Monarch is considered endangered by the International Union of the Conservation of Nature.  The U.S. Fish and ...

Don’t Tread on Me….Big Business!

Down the road whereon our home sits a neighbor flies the flag with a coiled rattlesnake and the words Don't tread on me written above it. I'm sure you've seen one like it.  This is a flag with a history reaching to the mid eighteenth century. Back then the original colonies were pretty loosely connected and were facing off against the French and their Native American allies in what historians call the French and Indian War. My neighbor's flag evolved from a political cartoon image that Benjamin Franklin first published in 1754.  It depicted a snake chopped up into separate segments with the words Join or Die written under it and carried a very ...

Brook Trout in the Coal Mine

To say that I come from a long line of fisherfolk requires something to measure that line by, so let's see what a brief glance at Google suggests.  Though not as helpful as I'd supposed the lineage of fishers clearly goes back a long, long way.  Somewhere between two hundred thousand and forty thousand years ago is the scientific range, forty thousand being the first time clear evidence of a heavy fish diet shows up in skeletal analysis.  He's known as Tianyuan man, and chemistry of his bones tell us he fished in eastern Asia and ate his catch regularly.   So when I say a long line it is sparklingly clear that we hominids have been ...

Refugees in Search for the Promised Land

Saturday afternoon, the first one this month, we sat in Whitewater hall and listened to some of Central Wisconsin's latest arrivals speak about their personal journeys.  Refugees from Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Nicaragua, each happy to be here, safe, and feeling welcome, they all agreed.  Missing terribly, and worried about loved ones left behind was another thought held in common.  Stories of violence, and threats of violence, too, sewed their stories together.  A couple of the men, one an Afghan, another from a refugee camp in Tanzania had survived assassination attempts.  Others spoke of the gangs and the relentless ...

Reflections on Earth Day

How do you joyously celebrate Earth Day even as the natural world we so rely on, and come together to honor, is in such decline?  That question rose to the surface again and again a couple of weeks ago on April 22nd, the fifty third anniversary of the first Earth Day.  Our own Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson inaugurated this special day in 1970, hoping to draw attention to the environmental mess we were already making of things.  That year twenty million Americans marched in support.  Earth Day was then, and has been ever since, both a celebration of this unique, living planet and a loud call to action in the hope of saving it from ourselves. ...

Join us on Earth Day


Earth Day 2023

Even the most die hard science fiction fan has to admit that Earth, at least in our solar system, is the most exotic destination in the neighborhood.  No where else does such complex life exist, and in such stunning profusion.   By comparison, our companion planets look pretty bland.  It is life in all its diversity that sets our home in this starry universe apart.  How fortunate we all are to share this singular and extravagant gift with one another - something to celebrate, certainly something to protect. Your local Citizen's Climate Lobby Chapter and NAOMI will do just that at 10 o'clock on Saturday, April 22 at Tenth Street Park in ...

Ground Clutter

How we crave that clear, blue sky after what sometimes seems like an eternity of clouds here in the dead of the Wisconsin winter.  Moods brighten as, finally, the awaited sun brushes our winter pines a radiant green, sumac tops flame up and the alfalfa stubble in the field down the road turns from dull tan to flashing gold above the snow.  Most of us are creatures of the day, content and absorbed in life under our heavenly canopy.  But lately I've begun to sense a seductive, day-sky deception afoot here that obscures our fragile reality and in so doing may lead to our undoing.  Does not the outright joy of a bluebird sky festooned with billowing ...