Nature Bats Last
Ever so often you encounter a book that is not only a pleasure to read but one that resonates within your mental framework. And how much better it is when you discover the author has written over a dozen books in a similar vein. My attraction to the writings of Mr. Pyle began with the purchase at a thrift store of Mariposa Road: The First Butterfly Big Year, a book documenting his quest to locate as many of the 800 or so butterflies found in the United States in one calendar year. His entertaining, fluid prose about a pursuit that could easily become mundane, guaranteed it didn’t. I was hooked.
Robert Michael Pyle resides in the Willapa Hills of southwest Washington where he has lived since the seventies, I think, anyway, a considerable length of time. During those years he has written effusively about the natural environment and history of this much overlooked section of the state. He is best known for his study and work with lepidoptera, and is indeed the author, or co-author, of several butterfly guides. He is also a poet, and this sensitivity is reflected in his prose. I could go on and on but, for a change, won’t.
The primary reason for this post is to encourage those of you with a passionate attraction and appreciation of the natural world, especially the northwest, to take a look. I’m not sure which book to recommend, but if your interests tend toward forests, logging, and forest management, or lack thereof, then perhaps Wintergreen: Rambles in a Ravaged Land might be the place to start. The book is a little dated, not in spirit, but in time. It was written in 1986, and I like to think many things have improved since then. If nothing else, the next time you are in a library or bookstore take a few minutes to read the next to last chapter, And the Coyotes Will Lift a Leg.