Much of the information will not be new to those who work intimately with trees and clear cuts, and know tree planting camps, but her words strike new yet recognizable chords.
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Citizens will stare at us as if we are a waterfront sideshow. When I was a teenager in the Eighties, growing up on Bainbridge Island in Puget Sound, it was a right of passage to sort fish in Alaska or to plant trees in B. My brother still fishes in Alaska, now with his own boat.
What sets "Eating Dirt" apart is the vividness of the writing. Gill's prose puts the wasp in your shirt, the weariness in you at the cellular level, the grizzly too close for comfort. Gill's stories are fascinating, but she is possessed of that rarest of attributes among memoirists: an understanding of her own story as only a part of a broader picture, a willingness to broaden the focus beyond the particulars of her personal experience. This is a deeply researched, beautifully written book. John Mandel, The Millions "Never have I read such a beautiful book with such a dull premise: what it's like to plant tree seedlings in the wake of logging companies' destruction.
Book review: 'Eating Dirt: Deep Forests, Big Timber, and Life with the Tree-Planting Tribe'
Gill turns a subject that might seem narrow and confined into a lyrical essay about labor and rest, decay and growth" --Smithsonian Magazine "Charlotte Gill gets my enthusiastic vote as the best nonfiction book of Gill's narrative is by turns gripping, funny, informative but always tactile" --John Sledge, Alabama Press Register "The humility that lies in the title of Charlotte Gill's extraordinary Eating Dirt is more than borne out in this astonishing chronicle of work, the elements, and place. Charlotte Gill writes with a dexterity and nobility that soars. There, we say. We did this with our hands.
- Eating Dirt: Deep Forests, Big Timber, and Life with the Tree-Planting Tribe | Geez Magazine.
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We didn't make millions, and we didn't cure AIDS. But at least a thousand new trees are breathing. It has a way of filling up a life with verbs that push into one another, with no idle space in between. But foggy conditions mean everything is wet and gritty and grubby and messy. Chlorophyll proliferates with a patient aggression.
'Eating Dirt' | The Tyee
The canopy blots out the sky. Sometimes the only sound, besides the dripping, is the silent roar of matter breaking down and melting back into the soil. Amid the huge trunks and sunless rot, one can easily believe that the forests are winning.
This is before the logging companies get there, of course. Gill is cleareyed about the business, and she made her living in a little-known corner of it.
And that is the irony of us. They gulped down 5, calories a day to fuel their work and collapsed into unmade beds. We have calluses on top of calluses, piled up on our arms and soles.