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Marsh Musings
Dam Witt

It is the end of a very strange year. More strange to humans than to our wild friends, I think.

The COVID thing has truly wrecked our nation. I don’t pretend to know any answers, but a couple of things are obvious. The virus has been found in several different wild animal species, so there is no way to eliminate it. I think vaccination is legitimate—it works in polio, measles, whooping cough and the injections our military folks get when they join up is impressive. I think it is a stretch for the powers that be to force Americans to do something they don’t approve of. 

Herd immunity is going to be the ultimate answer, I think, but there will be lots of turmoil and pain before we get there. The freedom of our country has taken a jolt, but I absolutely believe in the ingenuity and strength of our people. I have no idea how this thing will end up. We can pray for the best.

We have had a tragedy of unknown proportions in the natural world. Someone shot and killed four Whooping Cranes in Oklahoma. Why would they do that? It is beyond my comprehension. That is a difficult mistake to make. I hope it was a mistaken identity — Snow Geese have similar colorations, but a far different body and silhouette when flying or feeding. So much has been invested in the survival of these beautiful birds — losing four at one time is a blow.

The wind and fire from hell ravaged a large portion of our state. I drove the area and saw the lost homes, equipment, and animals. Game wardens had to go out and kill cattle and wild animals too burned to survive. I have watched the linemen and county workers join the farming/ranching community to control the horror and replace the power grid. Lots of heroes wearing hard hats, ball caps, and Stetsons — I am awed by the strength and goodness of these folks. 

Christmas will be different for a lot of families this year. I know a lot of you made your Christmas better by joining the recovery effort. These strong, silent ranchers and farmers are role models for survival. We have to help them feed the animals that survived. That is critical. When I was driving through that area, I was struck by the fact that most of the cut milo fields didn’t burn. 

It was burned all around them, but the milo didn’t burn. There must be water in the stalks or the leaves burned so fast that the stalks survived. The utility poles were strange — some burned only at the top, some at the bottom, and some in the middle. It must have been a blow torch fire in that wind that burned them so irregularly. Fire and wind are so deadly. We will be a while recovering from this one—but we will. Help in any way you can.

You know that I’m working on the process of changing camera systems from Canon to Olympus. If it weren’t for Jim Griggs and Randy Akins — I would never get it figured out. Anyhow, here are a few pictures from recent days for you to check out.

My personal best wishes to Wayne and Ronnie in their retirement. Hoisington will be less with their new lives taking shape. Kaiser’s has been a pillar of strength, wisdom, and service that is seldom seen in that business. Self-service it wasn’t. Thank you gentlemen for all you have done for so many for so long.

Go watch some birds — I’ll be thrilled to drive!


Doctor Dan Witt is a retired physician and nature enthusiast. He can be reached at