I am proud now, today, to say I’m at the helm of a project I thought was going to be an easy ride, introducing people to writers who read their own work about nature. It turned out to be a much more involved undertaking than I ever imagined—legal issues, distribution and advertising issues, rights, writers’ rights, wrong turns and relinquishing enough control to start the process to go non-profit. I can honestly say I’ve learned more in the past seven months since the inception of this idea than I did in decades teaching. I am a student again, on the job training, and it is incredible.
As we build our catalogue and make sure everyone is happy and all the I’s are crossed and the t’s are dotted, we move closer to the end of stage one, which culminates in the Live Launch. I apologize to those who have waited, but I decided some months ago that for once in my life I was going to get this right, see it through properly and create something lasting that will continue to grow.
Chris the tech dude, Jamal the screener dude, and I are working in our free hours (I have more than both of them combined and they’re doing most of the work—go figure; it’s a specialty issue), and each day brings a new breakthrough.
We are fully funded thanks to the generosity of friends and nature lovers, the call for submissions has been quite successful as we daily view new incoming videos, and we are trying to make the growing site as user friendly as possible before users use it.
But underneath all of that is something fundamental, which has always been elemental in my life—nature itself. Two things dominate my adult life: First, I love to be in nature—canoeing, hiking, observing wildlife and landscapes from the Great Salt Lake to the alligator-filled swamps of Myakka, Florida. It has always been this way. My youth was spent in a state park, my middle years spent in as much nature as possible no matter where I lived—which was always in rural settings—to my AARP years, which find me where I have been for twenty-five years, here at Aerie on the edge of the river and the bay. And second, as a writer I find some deep need to express myself that I simply can’t, ironically, explain. I keep trying to get it right, find new words and expressions to bring readers closer to what I experience, but time and time again I simply don’t get there.
Then I read someone else who in one small way exposes something I had thought inexplicable. Then someone else from a different perspective, then someone new, and on and on…
So to bring all these voices together on one platform in various genres, for me, is a sort of culmination of the two most essential aspects of my nature-loving world.
I am glad it won’t be long before The Nature Readings Project is fully operational (insert Star Wars music), but I’m glad I was not the impatient, often immature operator I was on so many other projects in my life, from sports to music to people. Eventually we figure it out, and I hope when The Nature Project goes live it is obvious to everyone why we made sure we had it right—the natural world is all that’s left; it deserves the same patience it has always had with us.
but first, this: