"There are no villains or heroes in the forest, for every creature has its own part to play," RD Lawrence wrote in the introduction to Wildlife in Canada (1966). "Each is ensuring the continuation of nature, for in the wilderness death is a part of life."
How death sustains life is a recurring RD Lawrence theme, and how each animal plays its part under this thematic umbrella is revealed in more than 30 books written from the mid 1960s until his own death in late 2003 at age 82.
His real-life stories emerged from the dual instincts of an objective newspaper reporter and a naturalist’s passion for direct (not clinical) observation. Through persistent field research and lengthy stays in the (mostly) Canadian wilderness, RD Lawrence fulfilled his quest to portray each species "as it really is".
To see life through the mind of an animal is arguably RD Lawrence’s greatest appeal and accomplishment as one of North America’s pre-eminent naturalist storytellers.
But perhaps RD Lawrence’s greatest legacy is to articulate nature’s example in story form so that we humans might transform ourselves.
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