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.
At their best, Mr. Pyle’s essays are an invitation to surprise ... Many of the essays strike a valedictory note, passing advice and obligations from one generation to the next ... The finest of these essays eloquently advance that ideal, revealing a writer who has, in many ways over a long career, fulfilled it.
... what Pyle truly desires is to encourage readers to get outside, take in the details of nature, and avoid at all costs what he calls the 'Extinction of Experience' ... Occasionally, Pyle allows a lecturing tone to creep in ... but mostly what comes across is the author’s unbridled enthusiasm as a witness to the world’s many wonders ... Pyle proves yet again that he is one of the most nourishing nature writers at work today. If Pyle doesn’t arouse your biophilia, check your pulse.
In this thoughtful collection, biologist Pyle (Tidewater Reach) examines the natural world and humanity’s place in it. Each essay reads as a standalone piece, though the ideas within benefit from closeness to one another ... Pyle’s arguments are strongest when they deal in nature, and when his passion emerges in intricate details about landscapes, animals, and theories of the wilderness ... Occasional instances of datedness in Pyle’s word choices and attitudes may distract otherwise sympathetic younger readers ... But these infrequent moments do not detract overly from Pyle’s message. His probing, thoughtful assemblage will resonate with readers who agree that nature needs to occupy a larger role in modern life.