Interviewing Richard Louv: Mother Nature has the last word

Richard Louv created a splash with his book Last Child in the Woods, and the splash has rapidly become a tidal wave, with the conversation about children and nature reaching the White House earlier this month. At times it looks as if the wave is riding him.

Our movie, Mother Nature’s Child, is one of the boats sailing on this rising tide, and of course we planned to interview him for the project. But it seemed that it was not to be. We circled his schedule during a year of production, looking for times when his speaking engagements would bring him to our neck of the woods. Everyone seemed to be in pursuit of Mr. Louv and, as the deadline for his new book and international speaking tour loomed ever closer, we reluctantly started to imagine the film without him.

Nearly everyone we interviewed would ask: “Have you talked to Richard Louv, yet? You really should be talking with him.” Camilla and I would silently acknowledge to each other: “Yeah, we know,” and then later talk about how we were going to make do without him. In January, with the production money spent, the film 99% shot, the trailer up on the web, Camilla received an email saying Louv was available — in San Diego, across the country. We scrambled to rearrange schedules, book flights, hire a cameraperson. It would be great. We would finally film the man behind the movement, get away from the New England winter and maybe have a moment on the beach with my grandson.

Mother Nature had other plans.

After a smooth flight west, we were graciously greeted by Richard Louv and his wife Kathy, who welcomed us with breakfast and coffee and calmly stood by as we tore apart their studies to set up lights, mikes and camera. The interview went wonderfully. We packed up, turned on our cell phones, and went off to celebrate over lunch.

As we waited for our food, Camilla’s phone rang. Mother Nature was calling. Camilla’s husband Tim informed her that a blizzard was moving across the East and her flight to New York had been canceled. Thus began her scramble to get home to Vermont before the storm shut down New England. I booked an extra few days in San Diego with my husband to visit with our son and his family, but poor Camilla endured a winter travel ordeal: six-hour standby, a red-eye to Boston, canceled buses, more waits, and finally, 24 sleepless hours later, after driving through pounding snow, home sweet home, interview footage in hand.

Mother Nature had her say, perhaps not in the loud voice of an Icelandic volcano, but humbling us nevertheless in our presumptuous efforts to rely on technology to present her message. It was worth every minute. We learned once again, as Richard says in the clip above: “We are part of nature, nature’s part of us. We are inseparable.”

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