The Invisible Commons

by Dale Olen
Unfortunately, we have been blind to the elephant in our midst (and I don't mean Republicans). The blind spot in our societal space is the Commons. Our society, like most modern societies, contain three parts: Government, Corporations/Business, and the Commons. Today we only see the Government and the Corporations.  Where have all the Commons gone? How can we see them again? 

China's Population -- A Thing To Be Seen


Over population has been a major concern for a long time in China.  I was there recently expecting to see the Great Wall of China, the Terra Cotter Warriors and the karst rock formations along the River Lieu. Along with all that beauty I ran smack into crowds of moving people.  Please click the "More" button below for my reflection on one of China's striking tourist events.

A treasure in the middle of the country

Let me tell you about something located right in the middle of the United States.  We drive over it, fly over it, rail over it.  It supports the breadbasket of America.  I’m talking about the Ogallala Aquifer, perhaps a most central geologic feature of this country.  The Ogallala Aquifer positions itself as one of the main life-giving water sources for the United States of America

Myths Drive Human Society

By Dale Olen

In the historical novel, The Source, James Michener weaves the 100,000-year story of the family of Ur and the beginning of human belief in gods.  Ur’s wife, Timna and son decided to move out of the community underground cave, so they built a little shed above ground where they could better watch and control the planting and growing of wheat (The very beginning of agriculture).  They began to realize how dependent they were on the sun, the rain, and storms to produce the fullest yield possible.  They began to believe there was some agency behind the sun, rain, and storms.  Just as they had taken charge of some parts of growing wheat, they wondered whether there was another willful form behind the elements of Earth.

Christmas: Birth of Life

By Dale Olen

The birth of life runs deep under the Christmas story.  Jesus born in a manger of Bethlehem rises up as a sign celebrating the creation and continuation of life on Earth.

What we remember today is not something that occurred a couple thousand years ago, but a shrouded, mysterious event that sprung up nearly four billion years ago probably in a thermal vent on an ocean floor.

The Power of Place

By Dale Olen

Friends ask us where we are traveling to next.  We respond, “Our only trip is from Germantown, WI across Milwaukee to Wauwatosa.  We’ve moved.” 

On August 1, 2013, we traveled the 12 miles out of the suburbs and into the urban community.

Being a Warrior of Perseverence


By Dale Olen

This website has been in hibernation the past six months.  Recently, however, hesitant rays of spring sunlight are urging it to come alive again.  During this sleepy, tedious winter, I’ve talked with many people, walked through a fair portion of this Earth, read, studied, and poked around.  While I encountered grand landscapes and seashores, learned beautiful thoughts, and soaked up people’s values of justice, equality, and cooperation, I still felt a gnawing depression and pessimism about the human race and the future of our children and our earthly home.

I discovered, however, that the counter to pessimism is not optimism, but perseverance.

Pictures of Costa Rican Waters

Pictures by Dale Olen

Costa Rican water pours from the sky, pounds from the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, spills down mountains, crashes into canyons, fills lakes, rushes through streams, and meanders down rivers. Always moving, water floods this Central American country with vitality, sparkling colors, and refreshing comfort day and night.

Go to the Travels tab above and see 18 pictures of the waters of Costa Rica.

Shifting from Despair to Hope

Pictures and story by Dale Olen

For the past 60,000 years we sat as an audience for the great evolutionary journey of the Universe.  With our large brains, we have witnessed the big bang, supernovas, the formation of the Milky Way galaxy, our solar system, the birth of planet Earth some 4.5 billion years ago.  Then we watched the great shift to life on Earth.  We’ve seen life evolve through bacteria, plants, water creatures, land animals, and into hominids.

The Commons

Essay and photos by Dale Olen

Water buffalo, impalas, and zebra had yet to arrive at their water Commons to refresh, cool off and play.  It was mid-morning, already hot, on a South African savannah, and I was positioned in a tree platform waiting and watching.  First a few buffalo arrived, lazily shuffled to the water, drank and rolled in the water and mud to cool down.  Soon the ubiquitous impala quietly appeared, followed by a couple of giraffes.  And later a few zebra and two wild boar joined the party.  Each animal related only to its own paying no heed to the others.  But they all shared the water hole in peace. 


Recent Stories

Recent Facts & Quotes