Closer 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.
Outdoor writer and conservation advocate Tomine expresses peace, gratitude, and satisfaction with life and Mother Nature in an homage reminiscent of Noel Perrin's ruminations on the pleasures of the simple life. Writing from Bainbridge Island, Seattle, Tomine escorts readers through a year of city-assisted living; while foraging, fish, and harvesting their own foods, he and his family also enjoy the pleasures of modern life, such as assorted electronic gadgetry. The relaxed pace and contemplative nature of his discussion leads to questions, for instance about the advantages and disadvantages of sharing knowledge about local food foraging hot spots. While Tomine's memoir is decidedly food-focused (particularly on food specific to the Pacific Northwest), he also shares thoughts on matters large and small, whether the many uses of plastic buckets or the trade-offs that must be made in choosing a budget-friendly sustainable lifestyle. That their lifestyle creates quality time for the family is evident from a conversation with his daughter and sweet moments in the woods with his son. Tomine clearly feels that he has made the right choice, and readers may find themselves questioning how they can gain more of that free time.