Fighting Ugly with Beauty
Although I didn’t realize it at the time, “The New Paradigm” began more than a quarter of a century ago when I lived in Michigan. My office was located in Chelsea, and, for a change of scenery, I would often go to Dexter to eat my lunch beside Mill Creek flowing by at the edge of town. I enjoyed watching kids catching chubs and shiners in the creek, recalling the joy I had catching trout as a small boy back in Minnesota. I never dreamed the impact Mill Creek would subsequently have upon my life.
One day, years later, my business partner called me to mention that he had seen a gentleman, decked out in waders waging a fly-rod, in Mill Creek. He’d asked the guy what he was fishing for, and he said: “Trout.” Ironically, soon thereafter, an article appeared in the Spring 2016 issue of Trout Unlimited’s magazine Trout entitled: “Mill Creek Wonders.” With the compelling subtitle: “How Scientists, and the Boys of Summer Invented a Michigan Trout Stream,” authored by John Bebow.
That, of course, made my return to Dexter a mandatory destination. What I beheld absolutely astonished me. Not only had Mill Creek become an angling destination, the towns-people had built a boardwalk along the creek. Families, with children in strollers, were enjoying the music that rivers always provide…free of charge.
That got me thinking. We should be able to find a stream here in Wisconsin that is not now trout water, and make it into a trout stream. Members of Wisconsin Trout Unlimited have repeatedly demonstrated their ability to convert degraded streams into first-class trout streams. (Reference the stunning accomplishments of TUDARE in the Southwest corner of Wisconsin.) Then, what if we also added visual art to the destination to expose children to the beauty of art and the natural world in a single visit?
Thus was born “The New Paradigm”. The sad truth is that both the arts and conservation are currently under attack by politicians, who may deprive generations of the quiet joys found in the beauty of the best art we humans can create, and the infinite beauty and wisdom forever enshrined in the natural world.
Perhaps this new Paradigm has an applicability far beyond here and now.
Daniel O. Holland