Nature 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.