Much the way Donald Hall’s Seasons at Eagle Pond captured New England, Sky Time in Gray’s River captures the essence of the rural Northwest. Although Rober Michael Pyle is a lepidopterist, and southwestern Washington is notable for its lack of butterflies, something about the village of Gray's River spoke to him on a visit thirty years ago. Ever since then he has lived in the village, which was one of the first to be established near the mouth of the Columbia River and which still feels only tenuously connected to the twenty-first century.
From roots to canopy, a lush, verdant history of the making of California. California now has more trees than at any time since the late Pleistocene. This green landscape, however, is not the work of nature. It’s the work of history. In the years after the Gold Rush, American settlers remade the California landscape, harnessing nature to their vision of the good life. Horticulturists, boosters, and civic reformers began to "improve" the bare, brown countryside, planting millions of trees to create groves, wooded suburbs, and landscaped cities.