Weber writes of backyard adventures in ‘Webwood’Budgeteer nature columnist and retired teacher Larry Weber gives a first-hand look at what you might be able to find in your backyard in his latest book: "Webwood."
By: Lauren Lundeen, Budgeteer News
Nature is everywhere, but how many of us truly notice it? With busy work schedules, kids, school or studying we tend to lose sight of our surroundings, especially right in the backyard.
Budgeteer nature columnist and retired teacher Larry Weber gives a first-hand look at what you might be able to find in your backyard in his latest book: "Webwood."
“I want to write about nature, here and now,” Weber said. “There’s a new story out there everyday. ”
“Webwood” is a more generalized book compared to the many specialized books Weber has written on topics such as Northland fungi or butterflies. In this book, Weber accounts for hundreds of animals in the 100 stories of various critters he saw on his walks around his land.
Every story has a photograph of some sort. Whether it is a photograph of the specific animal or footprints in the snow, Weber gives the reader some indication of what they can look for if they are walking outside.
“One thing I learned in teaching for 40 years is that a lot of people are visual-minded and like the visual representation,” Weber said, noting that the photograph is just a small part of the story of each animal.
What you won’t find in this book is Weber himself.
“One thing I tried to do continuously is write a story about the animals and not to write about myself,” Weber said. “I did mention that I saw it, where I was and other things going on with it, but for the most part it’s a story about [the animals].”
Even though Weber isn’t in the stories himself, one reader found the book to be Weber’s own.
“He kind of made it personal and brought the reader in. It’s an interesting style, and there’s a need for books like that,” said Albert Parrella, a Duluth native.
Parrella was a biology major years back and has the same fascination with nature. While reading Weber’s book, he said that he still learned things he never knew.
“I like that he made it so local. I had no idea these animals were around,”
One thing Parrella said about the book was how readable it is and how he noticed Weber’s love for nature.
“The guy has a fascination for insects. I think he has a love of animals and that’s clearly his love for nature, his desire to preserve it,” Parrella said.
After reading his book, Parrella was fascinated with what could be living in his backyard.
“What I try to emphasize is to not travel but take advantage of what’s near us,” Weber said. “I don’t feel there is anything special about the place near [our home]; everyone has their own Webwood where they can take a walk and see nature.”
Weber pointed out that some people don’t notice what’s outside their door.
“You don’t have to know everything, finding it is the fun,” Weber said. “It lets you know there are others out there.”
In order to show readers this and write about the animals, Weber had to think about communicating his book effectively.
“There are two aspects, learning about nature and the other one is learning how to communicate it,” he said.
While writing his book, Weber found himself learning how to communicate and take a closer look at things he wouldn’t ordinarily see.
Since “Webwood” has been published, Weber has a few more ideas in mind for the future. He said that when you begin writing, you never stop. Weber plans on writing a book on spiders and he’d like to do a “Webwood” follow up on more than just animals.
For now, Weber hopes that someone could read the short stories in his book and find them interesting and inspiring to go walk and look around.
“There’s a mentality that nature is always somewhere else,” Weber said. “There isn’t something that unique or outstanding about my place that couldn’t be found elsewhere.”
The next time you have a minute or two, do what Weber does: Take a walk in your backyard
You never know what you might find.