This master of the nonfiction narrative started this book out strong weaving the personal stories of these skywalkers (tree climbers) with their unexpected discoveries of tall trees rising more than thirty-five feet above the ground and the miraculous life growing in their canopies but The Wild Trees loses steam by Part 5 Into the Deep Canopy, particularly as Preston turns the book into a call for eco-action.
And reading about sex in trees (see page 199) just doesn’t do it for me.
Still, the book was a fascinating look into the ecology of temperate old growth rain forests tree canopies.
Who could have guessed that currants, elderberries, huckleberries, trees, salamanders, and even crustaceans grow on the crowns of coast redwoods?
And the beautiful drawings of trees and forests scattered throughout the book are just spectacular.
Some of the names these scientists have given the trees are fittingly majestic while others are downright silly. Given the eccentric personalities featured in this book, I suppose the variety in the names they chose shouldn’t be surprising: Atlas, Dyerville Giant, Cat Scratch Tree, Graywacke, Gray Poison, Thuderbolt, Crossroads, Paradox, Springing Buck, Laura Mahan, Bamboozle, Logjam, Thor, Bushy Toe, Warm Winds, Harriett Weaver, Alice Rhodes, Humboldt / Telperion, New Hope, Gaia, Icarus, Neptune, Screaming Titans, Earendil, Elwing, El Viejo del Norte, Lost Monarch, Flood Line, Mosque, Obsidian, Pig Snout, Pinnacle, Wounded Knee, Tranquility, Cloud Nine, Obelisk, Tosca, Helios, Hyperion, Tenador, Trifecta, Dome Top, Lone Fern, Radford Stovepipe, and Millennium.
While I’d only mildly recommend this book, I do feel it leaves readers with a sense that there is more to the world than we know — I think we’d all be better off if we felt that more often.