eating dirt-charlotte gill

“We revere trees, adore their shade, their wood, and even the rustling, keeping sounds they make in the wind. But we also can’t bear to to leave them standing. Deforestation has been the price we’ve paid for warmth, light and shelter since Prometheus stole fire from the gods.” (101)

“One day we’ll get so efficient and expert we’ll be right on the heels of the loggers. Maybe we’ll even overtake them. And then finally we can sit down to rest. No wonder we lose sight of the big picture. We’re all trees and no forest.” (94)

i recommended this one to cj and it was enjoyed and appreciated even though we have the same banter every year over the environmental impact of the christmas tree industry. this year, a donation in my name was made to the library, so i dare say that we all win.

this book was my favourite selection last year (or two years ago?) for the evergreen reading list, and the most poignant moment was the scene set dangling on a mountain top planting seedlings and looking at the pile of cardboard boxes that they came in, wondering if she’s on top of the environmental impact, or if that’s even possible. it’s pretty poignant.

“Tree planters: little trees plus human beings, two nouns that don’t seem to want to come apart.” (11)

“Some days we’re like bugs crawling around in velcro. Grubbers in the soil, incapable of dreams.” (15)

“We gaze into their faces and see that their brute behaviour is just a cover. They’ve been tenderized by inconvenience…” (21)

“We’re incommunicado, which is as much an anxiety as it is a great relief.” (151)

“On regular days, not much of anything happens. But when the plot starts to move, it avalanches.” (178)

“Our girlfriends and boyfriends and spouses who say the whole world should recycle paper just so that we’ll run out of work, get laid off, and be forced to come home. And the children, who are sometimes so young they can’t yet say how they feel. And the parents, who also lack the words…and so on…we’ve just begun to get homesick, even if we’ve got no fixed address.” (143)

there’s a lot here-the searching that is solved (or not) by moving or staying still, being at home in our collective home (the planet) that is hostile to a lot, missing companionship yet not. there is also a discussion of clear cutting that is reminiscent to that of bycatch-perhaps we are doomed to be biological capitalists-our curiosity leads us to conquer until there is nothing left. hashtag, buffalo.

“paper/cardboard/tissue/pulp liquor-scented oils, lacquers, nail polish and remover, extract-shampoo, toothpaste, cosmetics that lather, cellophane and rayon, alcohol, plastic, resin, latex and rubber, self-tanner, frozen pizza, preservatives, wood cellulose (instant mashed potatoes), bowling balls and helmets, explosives”

huh. i’m not sure how this staggering list of what trees are used for is presented in the book, but i’m transcribing it almost like i had it in my paper book (less the “+” signs, i guess it was from the computer less year) and either way, who knew?

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