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Magic of Yellowstone
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Me, Jim Macdonald, in front of Canary Spring, at Mammoth Hot Springs, in May 2005. I wrote a little about that trip, my first to Yellowstone since 1998, in an essay set in the Norris Geyser basin entitled Yellowstone Magic: "Venus on Earth".
Jim's Writings
on Yellowstone and beyond (including philosophy as well as anti-war and anti-authoritarian activism)

The Magic of Yellowstone
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Other Writings (philosophy, etc.): 

May 2010 Buffalo torture 2010: Firsthand witness account of Tuesday's haze The day before, I witnessed my first haze; even that didn't prepare me of the horrors awaiting me as I was on the ground documenting the full-scale haze the next day. Here is my full on-the-ground account of a life-changing event.
April 2010 A newborn buffalo breathes (iconic?) significance into my disjointed narrative (of intimate specifics?) I spent a lot of time in 2010 volunteering at Buffalo Field Campaign, which meant going out on a lot of patrols. Some of the experiences were intense. It got me to thinking of the particular buffalo I was seeing; too often we sacrifice the particular experience for the general; this was an attempt to give a specific sensual body to all those generalities.
January 2009 Yellowstone doom: Imagine better this new year The New Year came, and suddenly everyone in the world seemed to care about a "swarm" of earthquakes in Yellowstone. The doomsayers were out and about in force at a time of year they are in full force. More people were visiting the site as a result than ever. Amused and yet annoyed, I wrote this essay, challenging us at least to be more creative in the dooms we imagine.
August 2008 Reflections on the beauty of waterfalls I was a little lonely and not wanting to write simply about what's wrong in Yellowstone but rather about what inspires my experience and perhaps what drives me. So, my mind turned nostalgically to waterfalls wondering what makes them so beautiful and not coming up with many answers.
February 2008 Hey Park Service! Don't bulldoze Yellowstone buffalo just so I can stay on my side of the double yellow line We moved to Bozeman, Montana in December 2007. In January, we were already driving to Yellowstone. Some of it was pure joy; however, this episode written about here was not.
November 2007 The joy of conflict: River Demetrius Macdonald born as we prepare for Yellowstone (On October 6, my son River Macdonald was born. This essay looks at the joy and the conflicts that enrich the joy of that journey and the one soon to follow on moving to the Yellowstone area.)
August/October 2007 Re-mythologizing Yellowstone (This is a three part series - Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3. These essays are inspired in part by all the false myths that exist about Yellowstone, perhaps the false one about Teddy Roosevelt founding Yellowstone most of all. Though false, some have said there are value to these myths. I agree that there is value to some myths but not these particular ones.)
June 2007 Lake Erie, mayflies, and Jay Cooke: A Yellowstone connection in Ohio Jay Cooke was the financier of the Northern Pacific Railroad and perhaps was the most instrumental person in pushing the idea of Yellowstone National Park, at least from a realpolitik perspective. He was also considered the "financier of the Union" during the Civil War. Once among the richest men, he owned a castle on Lake Erie, near where I was vacationing with my family. This essay explores the connections with Yellowstone and with the ecology of Lake Erie made evident to me during my tour of Gibraltar Island where Cooke Castle is.
June 2007 Erotic Yellowstone: An ode to Empedocles (This is intensely personal and perhaps almost angry. It's impossible to explain without writing another essay. I was thinking about friends, thinking about my past, and yet the dominant thing on my mind was the recent dramas around bison in Yellowstone involving threats of slaughter, hazing, backtracks on promises, and the strange reality where such issues are considered sane. Mixed in that and wondering what it is we are doing in Yellowstone and why, I turned inward into my life. It leads to something not clear or succinct but perhaps interesting.)
May 2007 Resistance and the recent BFC arrests outside Yellowstone (Perhaps, nothing in Yellowstone has moved me more than the plight of Yellowstone buffalo. When two activists were arrested the past week, one of whom I had met, documenting their struggle, I was able to apply lessons I learned in DC activism to my reaction to their arrest.)
April 2007 Yellowstone Park? No, Farragut Square park (The theme of this year's writing certainly has been on the unlikely marriage of the parks system and issues related to class. On a morning on my way to work, I was reminded and angered at the Park Service's war on DC against the homeless population. This essay suggests that its not an accident that the same bureaucracy that mistreats the homeless in Washington is the same one that mismanages Yellowstone National Park)
March 2007 Doane and the search for heroes in Yellowstone (Half a short book report on Kim Allen Scott's Yellowstone Denied: The Life and Times of Gustavus Cheyney Doane and Paul Schullery's Searching for Yellowstone and half a lament about the social need for heroes.)
March 2007 Yellowstone: The grizzly truth? (The Department of Interior announced the grizzly in Yellowstone would be de-listed capping a week full of news related to Yellowstone "wildlife." I found myself mostly frustrated by the struggle and felt the need to express a different perspective on the reality of Yellowstone.)
March 2007 What happens beyond the frame of a Yellowstone picture (After a heavy dose of intense philosophy, I chose to write instead about the wonder of experience, especially those parts of the Yellowstone experience that don't appear in many of our photographs. I felt nostalgic for memories that are usually edited out of our stories.)
February/March 2007 John Locke, Yellowstone, and the Dogma of the Right to Private Property (This is a four part series of essays: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4. The title is pretty telling. I laid out the project in this prolouge.)
January 2007 Projects stalled in Yellowstone - Privatization coming? (In another essay in a prolific month, which meant I had no social life, I wrote about several stories in the news this week and how they all seemed ominous for Yellowstone.)
January 2007 The company towns of Greater Yellowstone (One reason I'm drawn to worker issues in Yellowstone is because I am a former Yellowstone worker. I was irritated that some in Big Sky would rather hide their workers. This essay followed on others along the theme of classism in Yellowstone, part of a larger project itching to happen.)
January 2007 My Happily Unsuccessful Hike on the Mt. Washburn Spur Trail during "Christmas" Day in Yellowstone, 2006 (In August and September 2006, I took a trip to Yellowstone by bicycle, spending 17 days biking, hiking, and camping in Grand Teton and Yellowstone. On August 25, 2006, I had an interesting hike on the Mount Washburn spur trail, one I found myself happy for not trying to complete.)
January 2007 Yellowstone and class (This essay looks at social classes in Yellowstone, how protection of Yellowstone often also entails protection of a class system in the park. I suggest that this is important because it is antithetical to the values that make Yellowstone special for us.)
December 2006 Looking Back at Alston Chase’s Playing God in Yellowstone (In 1986, Alston Chase wrote the classical philosophical criticism of the management of Yellowstone National Park. In this essay, I am inclined to agree with Chase's particular criticisms but disappointed with Chase's approach. Any advances on understanding future policy in Yellowstone depends on justifying our value judgments about it.)
November 2006 Anarchy in Yellowstone: A people’s history of Yellowstone National Park? (As activism for me is gradually becoming activism in Yellowstone, I turned my attention to a project that interests me. Can a history of the lower and voiceless classes of people in Yellowstone be told the way that Howard Zinn was able to tell A People's History of the United States? How might that lend itself to anarchy? I'd like to find out.)
November 2006 No Radical New Wind in Yellowstone (For many, the Democratic sweep of Congress in 2006 was a moment of hope and jubilation. However, in this essay I argue that it is not possible that the Democratic Congress was relevant to solving any of the underlying issues related to Yellowstone.)
July 1997 - October 2006 My Experiences in Yellowstone: An Autobiography of Five Summers (This work comes out in spurts. Most of my first summer in 1993 is finished as well as a couple chapters in 1994. The most recent chapter was finished in October 2006.)
August 2006 Supervolcanoes: Reflections prior to my trip to Yellowstone (The day before a long hiker/biker vacation in Yellowstone, I left the activist group I had been most associated with, the DC Anti-War Network over refusal of the group to remove a bigot from the group. This essay is pivotal because it merges activism with Yellowstone with my life. Since that day, my mind has been far more on Yellowstone than on local DC activism. Soon, photos from that journey will begin appearing on the net.)
July 2006 I'm Heading to Yellowstone: Listen (My employer in Washington, DC, actually had a conference in Big Sky, MT, a few weeks before my planned bike trip to Grand Teton and Yellowstone. This allowed me to see a different part of the Yellowstone region; I also was able to escort the President of my company and a co-worker into the park one afternoon. You can view the best pictures from that trip.)
October 2005 Genocide Against the American Indian, Destruction of the Buffalo, & Imperialism in Iraq (A pdf of a slide presentation I gave for Columbus Day 2005 in Washington, DC. The slide show presents more like a research paper with citations and bibliography.) You can see a few pictures of the event here.
June 2005 Yellowstone Magic: "Venus on Earth" (I didn't write a lot about my trip to Yellowstone in May 2005 after missing the previous seven years. However, this was certainly the highlight of the trip.)
April 2002 Coming Together on Behalf of Yellowstone Buffalo (Buffalo Field Campaign held a march in Washington, DC, in April 2002 that I helped a little with. A shorter version of this was promoted by BFC. I also took some pictures.)
January 1999 Informed Midwesterner Reacts Against Mr. Clawson's Column (A column in the Billings Gazette by Roger Clawson, entitled Uninformed New Englander slow to understand intricacies of bison policy prompted me to respond in a column that appeared in the Yellowstone Newspaper's inaugural month. I had forgotten this essay existed and surprised to find it on my current servers. The style reflects my tendency toward arrogance when I'm writing philosophy; chalk it up to an era when I ate meat and lived in Ohio.)
May 1996 (revised January 1998) The Founding of Yellowstone into Law
and Into Fact
(my senior history thesis to complete my B.A.; I re-wrote it upon further research and would like to revise it again some day)
  January 2009 Mourning the loss of William "Doubting" Thomas Thomas inspred me to be an activist. He died after a long illness on January 23, 2009. This is who Thomas was and who I am in part because of the Peace Park vigil that he started.
January 2009 Buffalo rally in Helena: Success of a small action inside a big problem At the swearing in of Gov. Schweitzer, I was back in my element protesting. Like my days in DAWN, I was out there promoting the promise of small groups and small actions toward an end even when the end is so huge. This is no exception of the optimism I feel toward protests like this.
August 2008 Yellowstone buffalo: Borders,migration, and the privileged lords (Somewhat discouraged by the August meeting of the partners of the Interagency Bison Management Plan in Bozeman and not really able to participate in full, I wrote about the general idea covering the whole process.)
May 2008 Report from BFC rally in Helena, May 14, 2008 (I took my first trip to Helena and wrote about the rally for the buffalo in Helena. It was a step toward building solidarity for Buffalo Field Campaign in the local area.)
April 2008 Why buffalo and why not the CUT deal? Against utilitarianism (Winter 2008 was a year of record slaughter of bison in Yellowstone, the most wild buffalo killed since the 19th century. Activism became even more focused on these buffalo, and writing about it an exercise in ethics. The activist writings more and more a section in practical philosophy. This essay is in part an answer to critics in part playing the role of critic on aspects of taking on the buffalo as an issue.)
April 2008 Prayer ceremony for Yellowstone buffalo: What a blustery wind can evoke (As the buffalo slaughter reached record numbers and beyond, I began organizing in earnest in Bozeman for the buffalo. Part of that effort led me to a Lakota prayer ceremony, led by Chief Arvol Looking Horse, outside Yellowstone's Stephens Creek capture facility. This essay is a somewhat melancholic though somewhat hopeful look at the blustery day.)
March 2008 Revolution of the small: The uselessness of global action and the need to take local action (here in Bozeman, Montana) (Activism in Bozeman began taking hold soon after meeting Buffalo Field Campaign. I met another Bozeman resident who was at the BFC rally, and we began working together on grassroots activism in Bozeman. This essay in some sense is a call for local action in Bozeman but also a rationale for it everywhere as the only possible means toward global change.)
February 2008 Meeting up with Buffalo Field Campaign in Yellowstone: The paradox of joy and failure (Again, this article is more about activism than about Yellowstone per se, putting into context the connections between meeting Buffalo Field Campaign in 2002 and then again in 2008 and the world of activism that happened in between. There has been a lot of joy but a lot of failure, and meeting Buffalo Field Campaign again brought that home for me.)
February 2008 Stopping the slaughter of buffalo in Yellowstone: What's next to do? (A Yellowstone-related topic? Yes; however, after moving to Bozeman, activism has become in large part also about Yellowstone. This essay in particular is about activism in Yellowstone in the face of another winter where the government has been killing a lot of buffalo.)
April 2007 An Awakening with the Piscataway Indians (On Columbus Day 2006, Gabrielle Tayac, of the Piscataway Nation, spoke about colonialism in DC as it related to Washington's first inhabitants, the Piscataway Indians. In April 2007, I was able to join the Piscataway for the Awakening of the Mother Earth Ceremony. I wrote about the experience with an ear toward listening with an eye toward a possible future experience.)
February 2007 Jay Nightwolf speaks about Pine Ridge -- Please help (Jay Winter Nightwolf hosts a radio show on issues related to Native Americans here in Washington, D.C. He recently had gone to the Sioux reservations in South Dakota to deliver needed supplies. The situation is horrifying, and I was deeply moved. So, I wrote about it and Jay's call for more help.)
January 2007 Why KKK speech is not free speech (In October 2006, we had a disastrous protest against the Ku Klux Klan in Harper's Ferry, WV. In January 2007, I found myself arguing about whether it was appropriate for the Klan to have been permitted to rally. Here is my response why not all speech is consistent with protecting free speech.)
November 2006 Why I'm Not Voting Today - Remember DC (Upset that I was being urged to vote, I felt obligated to explain why I was not voting in the 2006 elections and my hopes for voters outside of DC.)
June 2006 In response to several frequent criticisms of home demonstrations (Demonstrating at the homes of public officials is a very controversial tactic. The large DC-based blog DCist wrote against our demonstrations on the grounds that there is a distinction between public officials and their private lives. I consider that and several other objections commonly levied against the tactic.)
May 2006 DAWN activist briefly detained by CIA police outside John Negroponte's home (More for what happened than the prose, this piece--with link to video taken by another activist--is about a spooky event outside the home of then Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte where one of our friends was nabbed outside by a CIA police officer. DC Metro police let him go; this event led to a summer of protest against John Negroponte for his years aiding torturers and for his present support of domestic spying. There are several other events on the blog related to Negroponte.)
March 2006 Open Letter to National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance about March 20 Pentagon Action (I was not happy with the so called direct actions in March 2006 held by the Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance, a group with many people that I knew and have worked with before. Unfortunately, I never received much response to my letter, though many on their lists apparently agreed with me.)
April 2006 The Power of Direct Action: A summary of actions against the World Bank and the IMF (Working through an ad hoc group called the Farragut Squares after the square in downtown Washington, DC, a group I was involved with organized small but creative actions against the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. It began with a protest at the home of World Bank President and Iraq War architect Paul Wolfowitz and finished with the IMF Soccer Riot outside the Fairmont Hotel.)
April 2006 Ward Churchill and the Movement (Ward Churchill is a controversial academic who said that those who died in the World Trade Center were like "little Eichmann's." This led him into trouble at the University of Colorado, where they picked at his scholarship faux pas. Churchill is actually a very able scholar with a radical bent. He came to DC prior to a debate, and I wrote about my impressions of it as it related to the movement.)
January 2006 Why the hell DAWN protested Luis Marti (Luis Marti is one of the executive directors of the World Bank. He is more important than his anonymity would lead one to believe. We ultimately went to his home several times in protest against the policies he supports with the World Bank.)
January 2006 Connect the dots: DAWN protests Condie Rice, Tony Williams, and others (So, why on the same night did we protest Condoleezza Rice, DC Mayor Anthony Williams, the Saudi Embassy, the World Bank, the IMF, and the White House on the same night? Find out.)
January 2006 Secret Service and Pentagon Police go the "extra mile" to protect Cheney from DAWN (I took part in a lot of small and unusual protests in 2006. This one was part of a series of actions called for by the DC Anti-War Network's "Weekly Action Group." This protest shows how ridiculous police can be in a protest situation and the lengths small groups of people sometimes go through in such situations.)
September 2004 My Experience at the 2004 Republican National Convention Protests (This is actually Part III: "A31 and Guantanamo on the Hudson." The trip to the RNC with many DC activists and pointed by me with my work with the DC Anti-War Network was unlike any protest experience. This actually talks about my time in a New York jail for doing nothing more than walking on the sidewalk in a protest; the charges were dismissed, and most of the others are suing New York. Two other parts of this exist (I never wrote Part IV). You should start with Part I and Part II.)
July 2004 The Boston S--storm (This is about the DC Anti-War Network's trip to Boston to protest the Democratic National Convention in Boston. I took the point in organizing this. The title refers to the title given by some company that put my name on their "terror alert" list of a meeting announcement we had. You can also see photos from the trip.)
October 2002 - March 20, 2004 The Peace Narrative and Picture Page (I wrote a series of lengthy essays covering some of the major peace marches before and after the beginning of the Iraq war. This is very indicative of much of the writings I did during a time I worked little on Yellowstone.)
April 2003 Today's Peace Movement: Why Protest in the Streets? (An essay in four parts written soon after the war in Iraq began. The hope was to convince those who became discouraged with protest after the war in Iraq began that they should be in the streets protesting.)
  (comment in the discussion forum where a few older essays also exist) 
June 2005 - present Jim's Eclectic World (a more holistic look at all of my interests; a lot more there than here):
Recent blog entries -

December 2008 Return to the Ontological Argument for God's existence (Returning to my roots, I share a letter to a friend on the topic regarding proofs for the existence of God. I've always been a fan of a version of the ontological argument. This essay looks at that and then tries to move forward, beginning to connect this philosopher's notion of God with one more recognizable to theists.)
April 2007 Unnatural ethics (This is a very difficult essay to categorize since I also talk about Yellowstone in it. Though I have known since late January that I would be a father, this was the first time I announced it publicly. The natural sense of joy conflicting with the human impact on our environment - for instance, overpopulation - creates an ethical tension. What is the nature of nature, and is there a place for good and yet unnatural acts in a world divorced from its nature? Might that to some extent be necessary?)
June 2006 Defunct West (I don't write a lot of poems. This poem I wrote in San Francisco on my way to a meeting of anarchists. I was reading a biography of "Buffalo Bill" Cody and was angry at the world I saw on high from my airplane. It was in some part based on e. e. cummings' obituary poem on Buffalo Bill. This can be a Yellowstone poem; it can be an activist poem. In truth, it is that and more.)
Winter 1997 - September 2002 Some of Jim's philosophical essays (My twin passions are philosophy and Yellowstone. In many essays, they come together as one. However, at times they seem separate. This is an extremely small sample of my thinking.)