Richard Louv

Recipient of the Audubon Medal

Author of the International Bestseller Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children From Nature-Deficit Disorder

Blog Posts: 2020

The Virtual Blacksmith Shop: In the post-Covid world, working from home may be the norm. It's an old tradition.

When my boys were small, I considered myself lucky to work at home. At the time, I missed my colleagues in the newsroom. Still do, on both counts. In 1995, I wrote a column about working from home, which was later included in The Web of Life, and adapted here:

We should be cautious when we talk about traditional fatherhood. Which tradition?

As a writer, I spend much of my time in a home office staring at a computer screen. Often on weekends, or after school, my sons head for the small Macintosh that sits a few feet away from my bigger Mac. I work in a virtual blacksmith shop.

Working from home was the norm for many parents before the Industrial Revolution swept men up and sent them off to the widget factories, and later to office parks and office building, where women eventually and rightly joined them.

In those days, fathers spent a lot of time close to their children. On the farm, in the store downstairs, in the blacksmith shop next door, a child might work with his father, might hand him the tools of his trade or might play to one side while his father worked.

The sinew of this earlier tradition was time and proximity. Being there. Being nearby. And of course this was true for mothers and their children, too.

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Our Wild Calling: Release of New Paperback Edition

Today, the paperback edition of “Our Wild Calling” is officially released. I hope you’ll share this news with friends and colleagues. They may find it especially helpful during the time of Covid, as we increasingly turn to other animals (wildlife and pets) for meaning and connection — not only for our sake, but for the sake of the larger family of animals.

We’ve added a new section to this edition, including: a comprehensive resource list for people who want to take action at home and beyond (organizations focused on habitat and animal welfare; sources for job possibilities; research and educational resources. Also: a list of discussion questions for book groups, schools and classes (hopefully held outdoors); and an author Q&A related to the pandemic and new research. Hardback, ebook, audible, large print, and foreign editions are also available.

I’m deeply appreciative for the support so many of you continue to give to “Our Wild Calling,” as well as “Last Child in the Woods” and my other books; and also to the Children & Nature Network and other good organizations connecting children, families and communities to the natural world.

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Woman of the Prairie

Photo by Matthew Henry on Wunderstock

Recently, I have been thinking about Lucy Hollembeak, a surviver of the 1918 influenza pandemic. I first met her when I worked as a college intern for The Arkansas City Daily Traveler, in a hard-edged little town on the Kansas and Oklahoma border.

I was nineteen and knew no one in the town beyond the paper’s staff. My high school history teacher in Kansas City, Gerald Hollembeak, had suggested I look up his mother.

So I did. In June 1968, I introduced myself to her. Her husband had died in 1959, and since then she had lived alone. Every few evenings we would talk about politics, about religion, about what we came to call “the ache,” the painful pleasure of being alive.

As I came to know and admire her, I was moved by her wisdom—how she conserved what was valuable, appreciated what was small, needed little, but had a mind as broad as the prairie itself. She had written poetry all of her life, scribbled on scraps of paper. When I returned to college, after my summer in Ark City, a poem or two would arrive in the mail now and then.

Decades passed. I had not seen her since that summer.

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Readers Have Been Sending Photos. Please Send Yours.

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