From the interactive clockwork world of geology, tides, Northwest weather, and snow, to the hidden roles of dirt, stream life, and mosses and lichens, Pulitzer Prize winning writer William Dietrich explores the natural splendors of the Pacific Northwest. His topics include alder and cedar; jellyfish, geoducks, crabs, and killer whales; mosquitoes and spiders; gulls, crows, and bald eagles; and sea otters, coyotes, raccoons, possums, deer, and cougars.
This informative and engaging selection of natural history essays is adapted from articles published in the Seattle Times magazine, Pacific Northwest. A native Washingtonian, Dietrich has watched the Northwest double in population during his lifetime. Our rapidly changing view of nature is an underlying theme throughout his wide-ranging essays, as is the timely and essential question of how best to share and conserve the natural world that drew us to the region in the first place.
Not a field guide nor an environmental policy book, Natural Grace is intended as a primer for people who are curious about the environment they live in and the pressures upon it. "We only care about what we know," says the author. "I've concluded that enthusiasm and commitment begin from learning just how marvelous this region is: Passion has to precede purpose." And there is much to marvel over. Dietrich has unearthed fascinating and unexpected facts about his subjects, and he has a gift for expressing complex information in clear and vivid language. He asks intriguing questions and makes good use of interviews with Northwest scientists and experts to convey current and historic attitudes and economic realities, and to consider where we go from here.
William Dietrich is a staff writer for the Seattle Times' Pacific Northwest magazine. As a science reporter for the Seattle Times he won the Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of the Exxon Valdez oil spill. He is the author of Northwest Passage: The Great Columbia River and The Final Forest: The Battle for the Last Great Trees of the Pacific Northwest, as well as several works of fiction. He lives in Anacortes, Washington.
"In snappy, thoughtful, sometimes soaring and often funny prose, Bill Dietrich gives us a remarkable and memorable tour of our biotic realm. His penetrating portraits of flora and fauna both favorite and despised make us realize and cherish our rich natural setting as never before. Natural Graces burgeons forth in a happy parade of neat creatures riding the rain, the snow, the tides, and the quakes, leaving us no excuse at all for ignoring their beauty, fascination, and plight."--Robert Michael Pyle, author of National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Butterflies
"William Dietrich approaches the damp woods and shimmering waterways of the Pacific Northwest with a journalist's curiosity and naturalist's sense of wonder. The stories he finds there never fail to inform and delight. Natural Grace celebrates the mystery, complexity, and quirkiness of this still-wild corner of the earth. And it prompts us, even more deeply, to care for it." - Tim McNulty, author of Olympic National Park: A Natural History
"If you enjoyed Snow Falling on Cedars, perhaps you'd enjoy knowing more about snow, about cedars, and about every other natural phenomenon that makes the Northwest the most fecund and spectacular corner of our continent. This book should be as useful for anyone living in Oregon and Washington as the Portland and Seattle phonebooks." - Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature
"Bill Dietrich makes 'the little things that run the world' come gloriously and delightfully to life. If you haven't loved jellyfish and plain old dirt before, you will now. Dietrich writes with wit and charm and sound knowledge of the natural world. This is classic natural history at its best." - Ann Zwinger, author of Shaped by Wind and Water: Reflections of a Naturalist