Over the eons a lot has been written about learning, almost all of it positive. Were it not for our ability to learn, life would probably seem colorless and boring. And as the famous futurist Buckminster Fuller often observed, we can't learn less. This simple fact serves to cheer us on in the aftermath of our various mistakes and misunderstandings. If we are willing to remain reasonably humble, we can view our failures and shortcomings as simple opportunities for learning.
In one of his lesser-known novels, "The Wild Palms," William Faulkner observed that all humans fitted into one of two groups. Some folks go around making messes, he said, while other folks clean them up. While no doubt an oversimplification, Faulkner's observation contains some insight. We all know people who have made (and sometimes continue to make) significant messes in their lives.
Do you ever wonder why we say some of the things we do, or where they came from? This week, smack in the middle of deer season, seems the perfect time to explore the origins of phrases related to our four-legged neighbors. Why, for instance, do we call a dollar a "buck?" Doug Lennox, the Canadian author of "The Little Book of Answers," claims it came as a result of early trade between European immigrants and Indians.
"Everything's changing too fast." "Nothing stays put." "Things are out of control." "I wish I'd been born 100 years ago. Life was better then." How many times have you heard laments like these? How many times have you made them? A hundred? A thousand? More? Ours is an age of uneasiness. We feel assaulted by change, kept off balance by a constant barrage of newness. Given the pace of life today, it's no wonder we dream of calmer, less frenetic times. Sweet yesterday, where even the weather was more predictable.
A few years ago Charles Mann published a book titled "1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus," which forever changed our understanding of the past. Readers who plunged into that sprawling book emerged on the far side astonished at how much of what we were taught as children about our history was plumb wrong. Now, having given us some years in which to recover from the shock of discovering that America before Columbus was not a wild and uncared-for land populated by a smattering of benighted savages longing to be introduced to proper work habits, some fun national holidays and
Author's note: The following is a condensation of an article that appeared in Better Forests magazine titled "From Pines to Potatoes." Shawn Perich, a veteran outdoor writer and concerned north country resident, recently focused attention on the changes under way in west-central Minnesota as thousands of acres of woodland are being cleared to make way for growing potatoes. Perich, the editor/publisher of Northern Wilds and a member of the Minnesota Forest Resources Council, outlined the concerns of state officials that the conversion, which involves clear-cutting the woods and installing cen
How much is enough? The answer depends, of course, on what you're talking about. All of us would agree that we need a sufficient amount of the basic life support items to keep us upright and able to move about.
Now that school's back in session and parents and students alike are busy putting their mental muscles back to work, it seems appropriate to compare notes with the learning experience of an earlier era. What follows was mailed to me some years ago by a loyal Echo reader, and is taken from an original document on file in Salina, Kansas, and reprinted in the Salina Journal. It's the eighth grade final exam from the Salina school district in 1895.
Boys and dogs go together like ham and eggs, and most of the guys in our gang had dogs. Jim Glendening had a cocker spaniel named Sandy. Smitty had a handsome mutt named Boots. Bruce Nelson had a little snippet of a dog named Tootsie. I don't remember if Larry Bell had a dog, but I know for a fact that Bobby Anderson did, because I was there the day she died. Her name was Buff, and buff she was, both in the palomino color of her coat and the perfectly sculpted condition of her body.
It's that time of year again. The water lilies are in bloom. Walk to the edge of a pond or a slow-moving creek or the shallow bay of a larger lake, and the chances are good you'll be rewarded with the sight of dozens or maybe even hundreds of one of our state's most beautiful attractions, the white or fragrant water lily. A member of the family Nymphaeaceae, Nymphaea odorata is also one of our most familiar aquatic plants.