"This book is about what the nature in Maine taught me about the nature of life. It's also a literary exploration of loss and finding meaning in life, what remains after the ashes are spread ... It has another dimensional quality to it that goes beyond the science writing--the nature and the spirituality and curiosity all sort of became entwined. At first I thought I was just writing about the nature in Maine, but then I realized I was delving into spiritual territory, and no amount of scientific research could answer the questions I was raising."
"I use nature as the ultimate writing prompt: the life cycle of the monarch butterfly morphs into a metaphor for my own family’s migrations and what is passed on from generation to generation, the dramatic tides teach me how fleeting time is and the ephemeral nature of raising a child, and the clouds and weather reveal forces greater than ourselves that take away all illusions of control."
"Witnessing a striped monarch caterpillar's transformation into a 'chartreuse pendant dabbed with gold' and other slices of animals and plants' lifecycles has given Patlak a more profound understanding of her own."