Did you know that saguaro cactus flowers bloom first on the southwest side of the plant, not at all on the northeast side? Have you noticed how the snow melts first on the south-facing slope along a roadside? When you are outdoors in early spring, try to figure out why snow remains in some spots (under evergreens, or on the north side of a tree trunk) and not in others. So Pringle draws readers' attention to microclimates, those highly localized differences in temperature, and thus in life patterns, determined by plant growth, topography, surface, color, and other variables. An astronaut's space suit is a microclimate, and the different sides of an anthill can represent different microclimates, affecting the way the ants set up their quarters. Pringle applies the concept of microclimates to show how people take advantage of natural elements in architecture, agriculture, airport planning, and vineyard management. Finally, quoting a Scientific American article, he leaves readers to ponder the different microclimates that exist on the human skin. An essay that encourages reflection, aptly photo-illustrated.