Tag Archives: Nature

When Extreme Drought Hits Home

Dry cattails line the dry and barren bed of Lake Wichita.

Dry cattails line the dry and barren bed of Lake Wichita.

As the old saying goes, Lake Wichita is but a shadow of her former self. Once a grand jewel of a tourist attraction and the first man-made lake built to provide fresh water for the residents of Wichita Falls, Texas, this dear old lady languishes in the final throes of becoming a dry wetland.

mussel shell 1-21-2004 3-37-06 PM

Fresh water mussel shells and decades of debris and refuse from boaters and fishermen lay exposed as the lake’s waters continue to recede.

The amusement park and pavilion with its dance halls, restaurants and docking piers that once drew thousands of summer visitors from far and wide across the Southwest faded into history long ago. Remains of fresh water mussels, desiccated fish bones and tons of trash and debris litter the lake bed today.

rusted drum remains 1-21-2004 3-35-15 PM

The rusted top of a 55-gallon drum lies buried in the lake bed, typical of the tons of debris littering the lake.

As extreme drought conditions continue to hold going into 2013, the future of Lake Wichita and the surrounding wetland marsh is uncertain. Located on the southwestern edge of the city and almost completely surrounding by urban neighborhoods, the lake is the property of the City of Wichita Falls. Lake Wichita Park and the Circle Trail for hiking and biking line its northern shore. Fresh deer tracks and other signs of active wildlife attest that the old lake is still an attraction and not just for people.

With a lot of tender loving care from her friends and visitor, this old lady has another hundred years and more of life potential in her yet.

fish bones 1-21-2004 3-23-13 PM

© Jim Miller 2013





Posted by on January 3, 2013 in Genesis


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Geminids variations

Geminids? 2 fukN layZ


cloud cover
warm covers
lack of ambition
another cosmic shower missed


Geminids shower mid December comes;
Dry clouds shroud my patch of planet.
My bed, beneath warm covers, remain I;
Old man sleep trumping ambition.


mid December show
clouds curtain from my viewing
covers over head


Thirty-two Hundred Phaethon comes, son of the sun, from Gemini’s twin bosoms spawn star stuff! Stuff of which ALL is born. Man, woman, butterfly, sky; the ever lovin’ music of the manic cosmic spheres, man; did you never like listen, I mean, really listen to Sagan, man! Growing strong, lasting longer; a hundred…one twenty…one thirty…one forty…one fifty…one sixty an hour shower down in the wee hours across the depths of sky…. Hidden behind the dry shroud curtain of rainless cloud that blankets this patch of planet we call home. Three a.m. calls anyway, as usual; and you’re up to pee, anyway, as usual, knowing it’s out there; silent, slow streaming at two dozen miles per second some two dozen miles high; and all you can do is stand with junk in your hand, slow streaming, pissing the night away because it’s, well, cold out there and the damned clouds block the view, and if you’re quick enough shaking off the dew, the warm spot you left so carefully laid between the covers still will be there to welcome you back to the comforters’ fold. What the hey, right? They’ll be back next December, right? Unless, of course, the ancient Mayans got it right. Good night.

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Posted by on December 14, 2012 in The Elderly American Songbook


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You might be a Deist if…

Long about 5th-grade history, as I recall, the teacher dropped a term on us I had not heard before. That term was “deist”.

We were into the founding fathers of American independence, and our teachers was explaining how these guys were dead set against the establishment of anything that smacked of an Organized Religion. Perhaps this was because so many of the original colonists had flocked to the New World to establish freedom for their peculiar brand of Religion and then proceeded to persecute, prosecute, prohibit and outright ban any other peculiar brand of Religion. So those Founding Fathers determined that these soon-to-be United States of America of a right ought not officially to recognize any brand of religious orthodoxy or dogma.

But there was a little more to it than that, she, the teacher, went on. Most of the movers and shakers behind the American independence movement of the day were themselves personally not respecters of any religion, orthodox nor otherwise. Rather these men–John Adams, Thomas Payne, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and the list could go on–considered themselves to be Deists.

In a sentence, Deists believe that God created the universe, setting it in motion to run by natural processes. Deists base this belief on the observation of Nature and human Reason rather than on holy books of revelation.

Some 50-odd years after that 5th-grade lecture, I am delighted to find that Deism is alive and well and thriving on the internet. Here, then, is a brief offering from POSITIVE DEISM, “You might be a Deists if….”

  1. You believe in God but are not accepting of the authoritarian creeds of any particular religion.
  2. You believe that God’s word is the universe (nature), not human-written holy books.
  3. You like to reason or speculate what God might be like rather than be taught about it.
  4. You think that religious ideas should reconcile with and not contradict science.
  5. You believe God can be best found outside rather than inside a church building.
  6. You enjoy the freedom of seeking spirituality on your own.
  7. You are morally guided by ethics and conscience rather than by scriptures.
  8. You are an individual thinker whose religious beliefs are not formed from tradition or authority.
  9. You like to call yourself rational or spiritual before you call yourself religious.
  10. You believe that religion and government (church and state) should be separate.

The ideas and ideals of Deism tugged strongly at me way back when. But I was washed in the blood of generations of strict, fanatically fundamentalist, old line, hardshell Primitive Baptists who didn’t hold with no book-learning outside of God’s Holy Word. Freeing my mind from that bondage has been a trip, I’m here to testify.

Albert Einstein said, “My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble minds. That deeply emotional conviction of the presence of a superior reasoning power, which is revealed in the incomprehensible universe, forms my idea of God.”

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Posted by on July 10, 2012 in Genesis


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