Robert Michael Pyle

To peer much further down the line requires empathy for those who follow, but also faith in the future—even if you won’t be there to see it for yourself.

Robert Michael Pyle, Blue River Fellow, 2004

Robert Michael Pyle is a lepidopterist, and a professional writer who has published twelve books and hundreds of papers, essays, stories and poems. He has a Ph.D. from the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies at Yale University. 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 books include Where Bigfoot Walks: Crossing the Dark Divide,Wintergreen: Rambles in a Ravaged Land, and Sky Time in Gray’s River: Living for Keeps in a Forgotten Place. He won the 2007 National Outdoor Book Award.

Forest Log Work:

The Long Haul

Just as the scientists gather data, any open-eyed observer could go on documenting details without end in such a place: the declination of that row of saplings bent over one deadfall by another; the way that one sword fern catches the sun to suggest a helmet; how the polypore conks launch out from cut ends as soon as they can after their vertical hosts go horizontal, their mycelia re-orienting ninety degrees to the zenith.

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Journal Entries

My hands were raw with wet, cold, bark, pitch, wood, lichen, and moss, and prickled by needles; but they smelled so good–as did all the air, all the down timber and veg.

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Field Notes (Raw Writing)

To be called old-growth, a forest ought to be able to offer up serious impediments against intrusion of writers and scientists and anyone else lacking the evolutionary PIN number.

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