Dan's Writings

Bird Blitz - 2018

I didn’t know this until a week ago, but every year The Nature Conservancy organizes a bird count on the lands that they protect by either outright ownership or through conservation easements. Our ranch is protected from development or exploitation by a TNC conservation easement so we are eligible to participate in what they call the Bird Blitz. The idea is to count as many bird species as possible in a twenty-four hour period. This year the day of the Blitz was May 18.  
Dan's Writings

Earth Day - Forty-Seven Years Later

I remember the first Earth Day. It was such a wonderful idea, everyone pitches in to adjust the trajectory of mankind’s relationship to Earth and we wouldn’t have to face the destruction of our home.
Dan's Writings

The Endless Prairie Wind

Now we move into spring. Both the Ides of March and the Vernal Equinox have passed. Dawn comes a little earlier each morning; the sun eases itself little-by-little northward in the eastern sunrise sky. The prairie winds blow and whistle and sometimes howl. But, if you are going to live on the prairie, you will live with the winds.
Dan's Writings

In Solidarity With Parkland, Florida

Like a lot of Americans, I have been paying close attention to the kids who survived the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. It’s very unlikely that I will ever experience anything like what those kids have gone through. But when I watch their faces as they stand up and speak truth to the legislators who hold the power and responsibility to see that our schools are safe and about the need for society to do something to protect them, I see something in their postures and in their eyes that is vaguely familiar.
Dan's Writings

A Man's Mission

In a recent blog post I characterized “the hot air emanating from Washington DC” as more dangerous than the smoke from California’s devastating forest fires. (I was talking about some of the tragic proclamations coming from the White House, not the comedy of the even more recent government shutdown.)
Dan's Writings


My seventieth birthday fell on Thanksgiving, 2017. It had been a tough year, with destructive wildfires destroying the canyon lands above my California friend’s homes and even more dangerous hot air emanating from Washington, DC, and some of my own health issues that reminded me constantly that I was now seventy years old.
Dan's Writings

The Battle of Maldon

 A week ago I released my falcon back into the prairie air above our ranch. In less than a minute she was soaring, far out, over the pastures that she had flown above for years. My life would soon be far too full to give her the time she deserved and it was my hope that I might catch a glimpse of her from time to time, as I passed through the north end of the ranch on my way to dismal appointments in Rapid City. I hoped that I would see her again, perhaps on the very pole from which I first lured her.
Dan's Writings

Eclipse 2017

I had never seen a total, solar eclipse and didn’t think I had missed much. I mean, so something drifts in front of the sun and the landscape gets kinda dark for a few minutes. Heck, you don’t have to wait a hundred years to see something like that. I figured it had to be sort of like a dark, rogue cloud blowing across the face of the sun – happens every day.
Dan's Writings

The Dream Continues

When the Great Plains were young there were no humans to manage them. It was like one enormous ranch, managed on the single principal of natural selection. In those days the Great Plains changed so slowly that, for all practical purposes, they were in stasis - perpetually beautiful and wild.
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