"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."
"These essays explore nature and its offerings in good times and bad. From the metamorphosis of monarch butterflies, to the ethereal movement of fog, clouds and Maine’s unpredictable weather, to the monumental tectonic creep of mountains, to time itself kept in rhythm by the tides — all are captured in a science-based perspective that is done so effortlessly that I believe Patlak could be considered a naturalist poet...Life and loss amidst the surreal natural wonder that is coastal Maine are here in real-life moments that confirm the perpetuallity of life. It truly does not end if we open our self to the healing power of a place, its people and its natural wonders. Nature indeed will speak to you about the nature of life."
"For many people, nature is just this kind of flat backdrop to their world and they don’t really notice everything that’s in there, and there’s so much, if you can just tune into it, if you can listen to it, if you can get your senses going in understanding it...The more I learn about the natural world the more it flabbergasts me. It’s just amazing everything that’s out there. It’s sort of like when you look at the stars and all you can see is the Big Dipper, the universe doesn’t seem vast. But, when you can recognize all those other constellations, if not use a telescope to see galaxies, the world becomes much more immense. Some people find that overwhelming--they’re used to themselves having a greater importance, but I feel like if you can connect to a greater sphere, then you become more immense, right? It’s both humbling but also enlarging."
“I thought I was writing a book about the nature of Maine, but ended up writing about the nature of life,” Margie Patlak told a Great Falls Forum audience Thursday.
"Patlak is a curious observer and relentless researcher. More Than Meets the Eye is not only emotionally informed and deeply personal, but benefits from the author’s background in botany and environmental studies, and her ongoing writing about the environment, neuroscience, technology, and biomedical research for popular science publications."
"While Wild and Wondrous has the makings of a coffee table book or the perfect souvenir or house gift, I appreciate it most in combination with More Than Meets the Eye. Patlak brings the reader through a life-changing event in that first book, grieving the deaths of her mother and brother. In reorienting herself to that loss, she took an inventory of where she is and what she has. Wild and Wondrous documents that outcome—becoming re-grounded, as it were.