Happy Birthday, R.D.

Let’s mark R.D.’s Centenary as a way to Celebrate “change and transformation, comfort, hope, and positivity.”

September 12, 2021 — City of Kawartha Lakes, Ontario.

TODAY would have been R. D. Lawrence’s 100th Birthday. And though this Journal entry aims to celebrate his Centenary with good cheer and thoughtful reflection – it does so with eyes, heart and mind wide open.

Because, my goodness, looking around at the current state of the world, or rather, what our species is doing to the state of the natural world … the unchecked climate catastrophe, the degradation of wilderness … not to mention the denigration of Science and the scientists working to lead our species through and beyond multiple, simultaneous and interrelated human-made crises, I sometimes find myself wondering, “What would R.D. say?”

Actually, I have a fair idea of what he would say, can practically hear his voice in my head.

Those who knew him know what I mean. Those who didn’t have the pleasure (and honor) can still find out for themselves.

That’s because R.D.’s observations; whether pointed, philosophical, stern or amused, are as current and relevant as ever and simply waiting for You to discover them along the waterways and woodland trails winding through the pages of his marvelous books.

The Minden Hills Branch of the Haliburton County Public Library is Showcasing R.D. Lawrence’s Wildlife Writing and Educational Work. Photo by: Sharon Frise Lawrence

Pages and screens I should say, as some of his titles are now available in digital formats; including a soon-to-be released e-book version of his memoire, “The Green Trees Beyond.”

But why wait to celebrate the story of R.D.’s life upon his memoir’s re-release? We can reminisce about all things R.D. right here. Starting now, Cry Wild will periodically feature the anecdotes and musings of those who knew R.D. as part of a year-long Journal project.

Some who’ve already replied elected to answer just a few of the half dozen questions that appear below. A hardy few addressed them all. However you choose to proceed, if you knew R.D. Lawrence (whether in person or through correspondence) and wish to take part, please send your contribution to Photos and illustrations of encounters with R.D. are also very welcome.

Photo (c) Murray Palmer

Reminiscence Questions are as follows. Please understand, some submissions may be lightly edited for clarity. Have fun and, let’s get this party started!

  1. How and where did you first meet R.D. Lawrence?
  2. Was there any particular impression you came away with?
  3. Did he help you think about conservation in a new or different way?
  4. If you’ve read his books, do you have a particular favorite?
  5. What are three things people might do in their everyday lives that might help share R.D.’s determination to respect and reconnect with the natural world and enable others to see humans, wildlife and wilderness as part of the same interconnected whole? If you can’t think of three, even one is appreciated.
  6. If there’s something you’d like to express that the above questions don’t address, please feel free to share your experiences and thoughts.

First up! A reminiscence contributed by Wildlife Photographer and Poet Murray Palmer.

Palmer, it should be noted, took the above iconic photograph of R.D. Lawrence in his trusty canoe. It’s the same photograph that graces the inside jackets of many of Lawrence’s books, as well as Cry Wild’s Home page. Click the button below to learn more.

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