Living for Keeps in a Forgotten Place
An ecologist reflects on the natural wonders of the Pacific Northwest as he describes the lives of plants, animals, and humans through every season of the year during his thirty years in the village of Gray's River, near the mouth of the Columbia River--long out of print, this classic of nature writing is being given a new life in trade paperback with a new afterword by the author.Sky Time in Gray's River
is an elegant meditation on life in the rural Northwest. Although Robert Michael Pyle is a lepidopterist, and southwestern Washington is notable for its lack of butterflies, something about the Gray's River Valley spoke to him when he visited more than forty years ago. Since then he has lived near the village of Gray's River, one of the first to be established near the mouth of the Columbia River and only tenuously connected to the world of the twenty-first century. Pyle brings Gray's River to life by compressing those forty years into twelve chapters, following the lives of the people, plants, and animals that make this valley their home, month by month through the seasons.
Through his loving portrait of one riverside village, Pyle illustrates how a special place can transform anyone lucky enough to find it. He shows that you don't have to travel far to see something new every day--if you know how to look.
New and Selected Essays
Nature Matrix is a gathering of some of Robert Michael Pyle’s most significant, original, and timely expressions of a life immersed in the natural world, in all its splendor, power, and perilNature Matrix: New and Selected Essays
contains sixteen pieces that encompass the philosophy, ethic, and aesthetic of Robert Michael Pyle. The essays range from Pyle’s experience as a young national park ranger in the Sierra Nevada to the streets of Manhattan; from the suburban jungle to the tangles of the written word; and from the phenomenon of Bigfoot to that of the Big Year—a personal exercise in extreme birding and butterflying. They include deep profiles of John Jacob Astor I and Vladimir Nabokov, as well as excursions into wild places with teachers, children, and writers.
The nature of real wilderness in modern times comes under Pyle’s lens, as does reconsideration of his trademark concept, “the extinction of experience”—maybe the greatest threat of alienation from the living world that we face today.Nature Matrix
shows a way back toward possible integration with the world, as it plumbs the range and depth of experience in one lucky life lived in close connection to the physical earth and its denizens. This collection brings together the thoughts and hopes of one of our most widely read and respected natural philosophers as he seeks to summarize a life devoted to conservation.
"An elegant, eccentric novel of love, loneliness, and lepidoptera . . . Worthy company for work by other naturalist/novelists: Nabokov, Matthiessen, Kingsolver." —Kirkus Reviews
In Magdalena Mountain
, Robert Michael Pyle's first and long–awaited novel, the award–winning naturalist proves he is as at home in an imagined landscape as he is in the natural one. At the center of this story of majesty and high mountain magic are three Magdalenas—Mary, a woman whose uncertain journey opens the book; Magdalena Mountain, shrouded in mystery and menace; and the all–black Magdalena alpine butterfly, the most elusive of several rare and beautiful species found on the mountain.
And high in the Colorado Rocky Mountain wilderness, sharing the remote territory of the Erebia magdalena
butterfly, lives the enigmatic Oberon, a reluctant de facto leader of the Grove, a diverse community of monks who share a devotion to nature. Converging in the same wilderness are October Carson, a beachcomber–wanderer in pursuit of the alpine butterflies he collects for museums; James Mead, a young graduate student intent upon learning the ecology of this seductive creature; and Mary Glanville, who also seeks the butterfly but can't remember why.
While the mystery surrounding Mary takes a menacing turn, their shared quest pulls them deeper into the high mountain wilderness, culminating in a harrowing encounter on the stony slopes of Magdalena Mountain.
Crossing the Dark Divide
One of America’s most esteemed natural history writers takes to the hills of the Pacific Northwest in search of Bigfoot—and finds the wildness within ourselves
Awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship to investigate the legends of Sasquatch, Yale–trained ecologist Dr. Robert Pyle treks into the unprotected wilderness of the Dark Divide near Mount St. Helens, where he discovers both a giant fossil footprint and recent tracks. On the trail of what he thought was legend, he searches out Indians who tell him of an outcast tribe, the Seeahtiks, who had not fully evolved into humans. A handful of open–minded biologists and anthropologists counter the tabloids Pyle studies, while rogue Forest Service employees and loggers swear of a vast conspiracy to deep–six true stories of unknown, upright hominoid apes among us. He attends Sasquatch Daze, where he meets scientists, hunters, and others who have devoted their lives to the search, only to realize that “these guys don't want to find Bigfoot―they want to be Bigfoot!” Where Bigfoot Walks
was the inspiration for the 2020 film The Dark Divide, starring David Cross and Debra Messing. Since the book’s original publication, Pyle’s fresh experiences and findings have been added to his original work through an updated chapter. With an evaluation of recent DNA evidence from Bigfoot hair and scat, the study of speech phonemes in the “Sierra Sounds” purported Bigfoot recordings, an examination of the impact of the wildly popular Animal Planet series Bigfoot Hunters, the reemergence of the famous Bob Gimlin into the Bigfoot community, and more, Walking With Bigfoot
keeps every Bigfoot enthusiast’s mind wide open to one of the biggest questions in the land and brings Pyle’s work on the “legend” of Bigfoot into the new century.