Writing and Literature
THE CANYON AS ART is an evolving vision. If you would like to stay informed as we move forward with exciting new projects, please enter your email address in the box above to receive our latest updates. We also plan to compile a list of favorite books that help tell the human, geological, and nature-based stories of this beautiful and historic canyon. If you have a book you would like to recommend, please Contact us.
CCLC and the David Brower Office of Conservation Writing
On January 30, 2013, Bob Baron (Founder and Chairman of Fulcrum Publishing and Fulcrum Films; Co-Founder International League of Conservation Writers (ILCW) and Chairman Emeritus The WILD Foundation)announced the establishment of the David Brower Office of Conservation Writing at Fulcrum's headquarters in Golden, Colorado. The office has David Brower's desk, pictures of Dave, a typewriter or computer (for the younger authors) and about 200 major environmental books available as reference.
“If John Muir was the most important conservationist in the first half of the twentieth century,” wrote Bob Baron in his recent announcement, “then David Brower was the most important of the second half. David was Executive Director of the Sierra Club, fought unbridled development and was the leading publisher of environmental books that influenced many young people including the pictorial series by Eliot Porter, Ansel Adams, Philip Hyde and Francois Leydet.”
CCLC’s Founder and past president Rock Pring (currently CCLC’s Vice President of Land Conservation) served on the Sierra Club’s Board of Directors in the 1970s with David Brower and knew him well. A few weeks after Bob Baron’s announcement, CCLC’s Executive Director Claire Reigelman and CCLC’s Creative Consultant Page Lambert met with Bob Baron and Patty Maher of ILCW to explore ways that CCLC might get involved, such as providing outdoor canyon experiences for visiting writers using the David Brower Office at Fulcrum.
“The office will be available for members of the International League of Conservation Writers and other authors who want to spend time in Colorado,” Bob announced, “researching and writing. For over 28 years, Fulcrum has been publishing books by major conservationists and educators and this program fits with the company's publishing philosophy.”
For more information on the David Brower Office of Conservation Writers, including nearby resources for writers, please go to International League of Conservation Writers. Please check back for more ways CCLC is helping conservation writers Enjoy the Canyon! We also plan to post more stories and poems inspired by writers enjoying Clear Creek Canyon, such as the journaling excerpt below written by CCLC’s Creative Consultant and ILCC Fellow Page Lambert.
Elk Velvet and Begging Bowls©
Each fall, I search the woods for antler velvet, like other women might browse catalogs for good sales on winter coats. It’s an odd habit, I admit. During the last few weeks of August and into September here in the rustic, Clear Creek Canyon mountain community where I live, bachelor herds of bull elk congregate in the meadows and woods surrounding our home. Even from a distance, you can see their engorged antlers grow thick with velvet as their bodies flesh out from rich mountain grass.
As the color fades from the brilliant Indian Paintbrush, the elk begin scratching their antlers on the trunks of sapling aspens and pines. One day, while hiking with our Border collie-mix Trixie, I followed four big bulls that had strips of velvet hanging from their tender, bloody tines. I searched the ground beneath the trees where they stopped to rub their antlers, searching for a strip of shredded velvet, each time thinking This will be the place. But it never was. I found shredded pieces of bark and fresh droppings beneath their rubs, but never that coveted bit of velvet. I felt like I was searching for the end of a story which remained just beyond my reach—close enough to see, to touch—but as illusive as mythical elk powers.
After following the four bulls for an hour, I turned around to head back home. Trixie scampered ahead of me on the trail, stopping to sniff around the trunk of a ponderosa. Dejected, I sat on a granite rock to catch my breath before climbing the final steep leg of the hike home. Within a few minutes, Trixie returned to my side carrying something in her mouth. She sat down next to me, nudged my empty hand, then dropped a soft strip of fur into it. I rubbed my fingers along its edge, then turned it over and saw the bloody underside. Antler velvet. I was holding a piece of antler velvet. I rose and let Trixie lead me back down the path toward the ponderosa.
Sue Bender, in her book Everyday Sacred: A Woman’s Journey Home writes: “All I knew about a begging bowl was that each day a monk goes out with his empty bowl in his hands. Whatever is placed in the bowl will be his nourishment for the day…”
For writers, every time we venture into the metaphorical world of story and face that blank computer screen, or blank journal, we are seeking nourishment. We are also, ritualistically, practicing faith. Faith that if we offer our metaphorical empty bowl to the gods, we will eventually be gifted with a story.
Each hike into the woods is, for me, also a journey of faith. Sometimes, usually, I return home empty-handed. But not always. Sometimes, like that day following the elk, I return with a story to tell and renewed sense of wonder. Sometimes, I don’t even have to leave home. Sometimes, the wonder comes to me, like the morning a few weeks ago when these slick-antlered bulls showed up in the back yard. We filled our coffee cups, put Trixie on a leash, tiptoed outside, and sat in our lawn chairs and watched as they browsed and snorted and parried.
Gifts. They are all around us. In Rumi’s poem “The Gift of Water” he tells us that every object and being in the universe is a jar overfilled with wisdom and beauty. “Do you see?” he asks.
You knock at the door of reality,
© Copyright Page Lambert. All rights reserved.