Although the work was exhausting, I kept reminding myself that it was for a good cause. The intersection of books and land is not a dry encounter with nature; instead it’s a wildly exciting journey through both imagination and the real world. I got lost looking at all the titles; the RMLL has books on bears, beekeeping, geography, flora, ecology, conservation, astronomy, geology, archaeology, paleontology, literature, poetry, and Western history. Some were old, some new; some fiction, others nonfiction. All had been collected and diligently catalogued.
While I worked, I reflected on the dreamy quality of my task. At a time when the future of the (literally) printed word might be genuinely endangered, this husband and wife—who, naturally, work at the Tattered Cover; Ann in the marketing department and Jeff as a buyer of bargain books—have been striving to preserve a slice of literature in a way that’s about as old-school as it gets. Let the unsentimental modernist types wonder why they aren’t just digitizing the whole collection; real books and real nature are what the RMLL is all about. “We are all trying to carve out a space where we can slow down and connect with the different rhythms offered by books and by the land,” Jeff says. “It’s incredibly simple, but that’s what the Rocky Mountain Land Library is aiming to do.”