Continued from Part One, of course.
And so, my initial response to this request would be to try to reframe the experience into one of improved nature relationship rather than improved nature writing.
What I would rather see happen than forcing a student to write who has no passion to write would be to have a student find their own way to express their growing understanding of their relationship within nature and place. It might be environmental activism, art, or working with children to overcome “nature deficit disorder.”
(For all of these endeavors, as for many successful professional careers, the ability to express ones self are no less necessary than they ever were, though appallingly these language and logic skills become anemic the more the younger generation depends on spell check and emoticons.)
This nature-relationshipÂ begins to form in the immediate bubble that contains the soil under our feet and the heavens over our heads. Using our senses to better comprehend the microcosm around us helps us grasp its relationship to the macrocosm of ecosystem, continent and planet. This is a long-winded way of saying…
“One place, understood, helps us know all places better.” Thank you, Eudora Welty.
I have started an outline of possible ideas. Of course, I would like to incorporate the visual aspect of nature relationship, which in my life gives rise to nature-based photo-essays. So much more of our lives are illustrated with images these days, but I’ll be willing to be that for these students, very few of their camera or phone pix are of landscapes or creatures.
And as I think about the variety of things that I have written from and about nature, it occurs to me that there are several categories within this wide field of “nature writing” that each has a distinct voice and purpose.