Closer to the Ground: An Outdoor Family's Year on the Water, in the Woods and at the Table
DescriptionCloser to the Ground is the deeply personal story of a father learning to share his love of nature with his children, not through the indoor lens of words or pictures, but directly, palpably, by exploring the natural world as they forage, cook and eat from the woods and sea. With illustrations by Nikki McClure. This compelling, masterfully written tale follows Dylan Tomine and his family through four seasons as they hunt chanterelles, fish for salmon, dig clams and gather at the kitchen table, mouths watering, to enjoy the fruits of their labor. Closer to the Ground captures the beauty and surprise of the natural world--and the ways it teaches us how to live--with humor, gratitude and a nose for adventure as keen as a child's. It is a book filled with weather, natural history and many delicious meals.
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About the Author
Dylan Tomine, formerly a fly fishing guide, is now a writer, conservation advocate, blueberry farmer and father, not necessarily in that order. His work has appeared in the "Flyfish Journal, "the "Drake," "Golfweek," the" New York Times" and numerous other publications. He lives with his family on an island in Puget Sound.
Nikki McClure of Olympia, Washington is known for her painstakingly intricate and beautiful paper cuts. Armed with an X-acto knife, she cuts out her images from a single sheet of paper and creates a bold language that translates the complex poetry of motherhood, nature, and activism into a simple and endearing picture.
"Dylan Tomine--a fly-fishing ambassador for the outdoors company Patagonia--used to pursue steelhead year-round from Argentina to Southeast Alaska, but after watching wild steelhead decline and becoming a father, he returned home to the Pacific Northwest to be a blueberry farmer. "Closer to the Ground" is a narrative journey that follows his family through four seasons of intentionally noticing their natural environment and getting in touch with the day-to-day rhythms of tide, weather and the seasons. Tomine emphasizes that they aren't completely off the grid; they don't live in a yurt and they aren't strangers to the mall, but they do attempt to keep in touch with their surroundings: "I can only hope that somehow, though participating in the natural world, our need to protect it becomes more urgent.
Tomine weaves his memoir with lyrical passages, family dialogues and accounts of gathering shellfish and chanterelles--as well as delicious descriptions of cooking them--in an engaging, slightly self-deprecating tone. Particularly poignant is his description of a snowy egret that he sees when returning home from a fishing trip. It reminds him of his grandfather, "a forager of spring fiddleheads and forest mushrooms, a poet who wrote a single, perfect haiku for every day he was held in the [Japanese] relocation camps." Alongside these beautiful passages are Tomine's frustrations of fishing expeditions hindered by squalls and his constant worry about chopping enough firewood to last through the winter. "Closer to the Ground" inspires readers to examine their own daily lives and rediscover their surroundings." --Kristin McConnell, publishing assistant, "Shelf Awareness"
"Dylan Tomine's "Closer to the Ground" is a pleasure to read, depicting as it does the days and seasons of a family intent on living joyfully, and providing at the same time a lively meditation on our relationship to nature. I found its buoyant, irrepressible, self-deprecating tone entir