The Tangled Bank: Writings from Orion

Overview

“It is interesting to contemplate a tangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth, and to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms, so different from each other, and dependent upon each other in so complex a manner, have all been produced by laws acting around us…” —Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species

Robert Michael Pyle’s popular “Tangled Bank”...

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Overview

“It is interesting to contemplate a tangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth, and to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms, so different from each other, and dependent upon each other in so complex a manner, have all been produced by laws acting around us…” —Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species

Robert Michael Pyle’s popular “Tangled Bank” column appeared in fifty-two consecutive issues of Orion and Orion Afield magazines over eleven years. Each essay collected in The Tangled Bank explores Charles Darwin’s contention that the elements of such a bank, and by extension all the living world, are endlessly interesting and ever evolving.

Pyle’s thoughtful and concise narratives range in subject from hops and those who love them to independent bookstores to the monarchs of Mexico. In each piece, Pyle refutes “the idea that the world is a boring place,” sharing his meticulous observations of the endless and fascinating details of the living earth.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780870716799
  • Publisher: Oregon State University Press
  • Publication date: 10/1/2012
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 208
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert Michael Pyle dwells with his wife, Thea, a botanist and weaver, in an old Swedish farmstead in southwest Washington. His sixteen books include the John Burroughs Medal-winning Wintergreen, The Thunder Tree, Sky Time in Gray’s River, and Mariposa Road. A Guggenheim Fellow and founder of The Xerces Society, he is often associated with butterflies, slugs, and Bigfoot.

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Table of Contents

Prologue: The Fern Wall 1

Leaves That Speak 9

In the Eyes of… 12

Of Mice and Monarchs 15

Turning Fifty on Silver Star 17

Roll Call 20

Old Growth 23

The Element of Surprise 26

A Declaration of Independents 29

Naming Names 32

Down at the Grange 35

Of Cabbages and Queens 38

When Things Go Wrong 41

Alles ist Blatt 44

Carnal Knowledge 47

Spark-infested Waters 50

Durable Goods 52

Lookee Here! 55

The Toucans of Tikal 58

Waving the Flag 61

My Meringue Bazooka 64

Nightlife in Amsterdam 67

Wings to Wander 71

Confessions of a Hophead 75

Reality Check 79

Guarding the Household 83

A Tale of Two Turtles 87

The Chemistry Between Us 91

Taking Their Names in Vain 95

Tit for Tat 99

Small Mercies 103

The Long Haul 107

Butterflies and Battle Cries 111

The Moth Blitz 115

Consolation Prize 119

Cosmic Convergence 122

The High Price of Getting Hip 126

Unauthorized Entry 130

Losers Keepers 134

Squirrel Tales 138

Hanky Panky: Notes on the Biology of Boogers 142

Feathered Remnants 146

Pele and Kamehameha Dance 151

With Enemies Like These 155

The Great Indoors 159

The Territory of Tint 163

Evolving, Swiftly 167

Book Tourist 171

Condo Picchu 175

License to Kill 179

Pulling the Plug 183

Overseer of Butterflies 187

Magpie Song 191

Epilogue: X the Unknown 195

Acknowledgements 198

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