A couple weeks ago I had the wonderful opportunity to chat with Northwest environmental writer, poet, novelist and butterfly expert, Robert Michael Pyle, about his new book Nature Matrix. We had a free-wheeling conversation, sitting on the front porch of my friend Susan Banyas’s house in Astoria, overlooking the Columbia River and the hills beyond. Above the background sounds of Astoria traffic and fog horns, we talk about the importance of maintaining our connection with nature in the face of all the political, technological, social and spiritual challenges we face in this age of Trump and Covid. As we talked we were joined by a giant flock of white pelicans flying across the river.
Robert Michael Pyle is an American lepidopterist, writer, teacher, and founder of the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation. Much of his life story is told in the 2020 feature film, The Dark Divide (based on his book Where Bigfoot Walks: Crossing the Dark Divide). His acclaimed 1987 book Wintergreen describing the devastation caused by unrestrained logging in Washington’s Willapa Hills near his adopted home was the winner of the 1987 John Burroughs Medal for Distinguished Nature Writing. His recent books also include, Wintergreen: Rambles in a Ravaged Land, Sky Time in Gray’s River: Living for Keeps in a Forgotten Place and Magdalena Mountain: A Novel. His most recent book is Nature Matrix.