Mud season is a time of celebration for me this year — twelve months since we started production on Mother Nature’s Child and two and a half years since I bought a copy of Richard Louv’s Last Child in the Woods on a whim at the Seattle Art Museum. I planned to give the book to my son and daughter-in-law; their two-year old son was my playmate one full day a week. But reading Last Child on the plane home to Vermont, it became clear that my next film project had just been revealed. A new phase of learning was about to begin.
The previous year had been spent producing Holding Our Own, a film about the end of life. How refreshing it felt to focus on the beginning of the life cycle, to think about children and how they grow. My grandson’s generation is growing up with an entirely different exposure to nature than we baby boomers. That wouldn’t be such a big deal except that children today exhibit all kinds of health problems that cause experts to think theirs may be the first generation to experience a shorter life span than their parents. Many of these problems can be traced to changes in our lifestyle and educational curricula that, in the last three decades, have radically reduced children’s free play in the natural world.
Never had I given any serious thought to human connection to nature, leaving it to “environmentalists” to figure out while I spent decades navigating inner territory. For me, nature was just the best place to go on retreat! Researching the issues for Mother Nature’s Child forced me to engage questions I had blithely ignored. Just as making Holding Our Own profoundly changed my relationship to death, so these last two years working on Mother Nature’s Child have awakened an awareness that will only continue to deepen through my life. Maybe this process will even be of benefit to my grandson and his children.
This website will be undergoing constant change throughout the year as we approach the film’s release date next fall. It is being designed by dedicated friends, Shannon and Kent Davidson, who have three young children of their own. Co-producer Wendy Conquest is, like me, a relatively new grandmother. All our cameramen are fathers. We are in this together. As Mother Nature’s Child gestates over the next few months, I invite you to share our journey. Visit our blog to see clips, photographs and outtakes from the film, and to hear about our process as we edit Mother Nature’s Child.