As with so many things that have happened with this project, Bill Siever’s trip to Maine last weekend brought a marvelous new story, and more synchronicity. Here’s his email to contributors, sent today:
As part of the final volume, we’re including a dedication page in which we dedicate the encyclopedia to babies born to our contributors while work was being done on the series; we think that this is a good sign that people have some faith in the future of humanity. I know of at least two babies, born to two of our editors, and I know there were several more born to authors but don’t know their names. (Perhaps I would if I were more organized!) If you are one of these parents, or know of someone who is, I’d love to be able to add the name(s) of your new arrivals to the dedication page.
We’re following that with a dedication to those who have passed away during work on the set: our general editor, Ray Anderson; Steve de Gruchy, who contributed an article on sustainable development to volume 1; Neil Whitehead, who contributed an article on Amazonia to volume 8; and Elinor Ostrom, who didn’t contribute directly to the encyclopedia but who influenced a LOT of people with her work. If anyone is aware of anyone I’m leaving out, please do let me know.
Last but not least, we’re dedicating the series to Rachel Carson, who wrote Silent Spring 50 years ago this month. In a strange bit of serendipity, my wife and I went camping in Maine this past weekend, and happened to visit a very remote beach park at the end of the Earth from which we could see Southport Island in the distance, where Carson wrote Silent Spring. (I learned this from reading the park map.) When I returned to work on Monday I re-read the dedication page that Karen Christensen (our publisher) had written up last week, and in it she quoted a letter from Carson in which Carson described seeing in the distance the very beach Amy and I had just visited, as well as the beautiful monarch butterflies we had been marvelling at. (All on a beautiful, blue September day, exactly as it was when we visited.)