In 25 engaging essays, Summerland writer Don Gayton fuses the personal with the ecological to portray the geography and the natural and human history of his adopted Okanagan Valley homeland.
Draft resister and professional ecologist by training, Don Gayton registers the complexity and interconnectedness of every living thing in his environment, from the rivers and lakes, to the plants and animals, and the human settlements along the Okanagan, Similkameen, and Columbia watercourses shaping his backyard.
The Sky and the Patio describes the patterns made by iconic native species such as ponderosa pine, sagebruch and bunchgrass, the sockeye salmon and turtles, and the non-natives reshaping their world: the toadflax and knapweed, antelopebrush, horses and cattle --- and the grapevines, tomatoes and cannabis looking for a foothold today.
Gayton tells us what we can learn from tree rings besides the tree's age; some fine points about firewood; and a little bit about Chinook wawa, and his own library of nature writing.
About the author
An ecologist and writer, Don Gayton was raised in California and Washington. He is the author of two award–winning books of non–fiction. His first book was The Wheatgrass Mechanism: Science and Imagination in the Western Canadian Landscape (Fifth House, 1990). Landscapes of the Interior: A Re–exploration of Nature and the Human Spirit (New Society Publishers, 1996), won the National Outdoor Book Award, Outdoor Literature Category, in the United States, and was shortlisted for a BC Book Award. He has also written for Equinox, Canadian Geographic, Harrowsmith, NeWest Review, Books in Canada, Rangelands, Mercator–s World, and Bugle. He lives in Nelson, BC with his family.