Both books explore the past and present…through to very different ecosystems, taking particular note of how the members of those communities interact as they live their lives. The comparison reveals powerful commonalities.
The Galápagos Islands are tropical desert. Brawley Creek is a 30-acre patch of land on the fringe of the Ozarks in temperate Missouri. They have vastly different geological and paleo-histories, they are geographically and ecologically miles apart, but the residents live and die according to the same rules.
Both are seen as a kind of paradise—one, a world class destination currently visited by over 100,000 people annually, the other with a stable population of two. Both explore the science and aesthetics of those places. Taken together, art and science—beauty and complexity—are two parts of a whole that, combined as they are in these two volumes, release the pleasure in understanding something of how they live their lives and why they behave as they do.
They can open an awesome world to the reader and encourage him or her to see that we live by those same rules and they shape our lives in the same ways. That awareness allows us to recognize them as kin and to feel a part of the magnificent system in which we live.