Wisdom Road Day #24: Nearly 100 Years of Wisdom and Advice

September 21, 2022

Back then, you told your kids to take care of their health, your house and your food. That’s the three things should be your most concern. Everything else should be secondary. Mary Thomsen is a spry 95, still working every day at the local Community Action center, mostly coordinating food and supply donations to those…

Wisdom Road Day #21: Powerful Lakota Wisdom and Values

September 19, 2022

I got the first vague idea for this Wisdom Road journey when I heard Tamera Miyasato give a workshop to South Dakota educators about five years ago.  She has developed s curriculum around core values of Lakota wisdom traditions.  I felt that virtually every educator I had ever met would  see the value of learning…

Wisdom Road Day #20: Deep, Comforting Native Wisdom

September 17, 2022

We will heal our country by first healing ourselves.  Mona Miyasato is the archetype I came on this journey to find.  She is a Dakota elder and life-long educator.  Now 80, she describes herself as growing up “aculturated” to the dominant, or White, society.  Mona’s father was a child around the time of the last…

Wisdom Road Day #19: More Common Ground

September 16, 2022

“Let’s just pray that 100 years from now, a couple guys can stand in this yard and have a decent conversation and share ideas like we just did.  Then we’ll know we made it.” I spent the night in the side yard of Brad Busch’s little farm near Belvedere, South Dakota. Brad used to own…

Wisdom Road Day #18: Finding Common Ground

September 15, 2022

The Perino family have been ranching horses and cattle near Newcastle, Wyoming for several generations. I got to spend a couple of hours around the kitchen table with two of those generations, including an invitation to a wonderful lunch. I will report in more detail, but this was such a key takeaway: Patriarch Matt Perino…

Wisdom Road Day 17: Moving Into Native Lands

September 14, 2022

I have walked many forest paths; until now perhaps the most viscerally mythical was the trail through moss-hung trees in central Nepal after which Tolkien modeled his Elfin Lothlorien.  A walk in the Paha Sapa, what most of us now call the Black Hills of South Dakota, rivals that.  The veil between what-was and what-is…

Wisdom Road Day 15: “Alcohol and drugs can be the two worst things other than politics.”

September 12, 2022

I learned quickly that you don’t ask a rancher how many head of cattle or horses he runs; that’s akin to just asking a stranger what he has in the bank.  By that time I was already sitting with the entire Perino family at their big kitchen table in a modest ranch house at the…

Wisdom Road Sept. 11: Advice and Life Lessons From an Old Veteran

September 11, 2022

Don was born in 1928. Growing up on a farm outside of Wheatland, Wyoming then was tough.  He said that they really didn’t experience the Depression because everyone was so poor already.  He graduated high school right at the end of World War II.  What a treat for me to spend some time with an…

Wisdom Road Day 13: Small Town Life, Values, and Fears: Chugwater, Wyoming

September 10, 2022

Chugwater, Wyoming is farm and ranch country, mostly dry farming, so rain is a constant part of the discussion.  Cattle need 10-15 acres for every cow-calf pair.  Keith Miller and two sisters, Lucinda Houtchens and Teresa Baker, all grew up together, went to school together, and helped each other on their family ranches.  During our…

Wisdom Road Day 12: Sharon Utter From Wheatland, WY

September 9, 2022

Sharon Utter grew up on a ranch between Jay Em and Lingle, Wyoming.  She helped me organize a set of interviews, portions of which I will post over the next several days. Like the others I met in Wheatland, she is a bit older than she looks. “We want accountability. How do you say this…

Wisdom Road Day 8: Where Are All the Cattle?

September 7, 2022

Answers are usually just one person away you haven’t met yet. There are something like 1.3 million head of cattle in Wyoming.  That works out to an average of about one head for every six acres of land in the state.  Of course there is land that is off limits for grazing, so the density…

Wisdom Road Day 7: An Outlier Brings Her Perspective to Rural Wyoming

September 5, 2022

Rachelle and Dan Barkhurst live in Encampment, WY, a town of about 500 people. They let me park my rig overnight in their yard. Rachelle grew up in a town in Missouri.  Her mother was an early pioneer in marketing formal wear over the internet.  Rachelle got interested in fashion and her life took more…

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