FFJ Friend Dylan Tomine Gets Ground Level

While armies of millennial kids are glued catatonically to their mobile devices and live their lives in fear of any food not wrapped in plastic and run through a barcode scanner, not all parents are buying into it. With his first book, “Closer to the Ground” Dylan Tomine offers another path, while not turning into a bunker-dwelling, Whole Foods zombie.

And while (disclaimer) this is not a flyfishing book per se, flyfishing — with Yvon Chounaird and friends in remote British Columbia to secure steelhead DNA for study, with his daughter on the local bluegill pond — fits comfortably into a larger approach to a life outdoors. And the food that can be had from the beaches, trees and soil around us.

From his daughter’s first solo-caught coho salmon (while dressed appropriately in tiara and sparkly boots) to his son’s eagle eyes on their first chanterelle mission together, “Closer” goes beyond the wonkiness that sometimes pervades works on “sustainability” and “local” (at a recent book reading, he deadpans: “My kids know what Cheetos taste like.”) “Closer” is an intimate tale, from reflections on his own sometimes turbulent childhood to chasing his son farther and farther out in the tideline, Tomine draws the reader in and gets them soaking wet on a Washington State ocean beach while scanning for signs of razor clams.

From firewood paranoia to the crushing defeat of tomato blight, “Closer to the Ground” is a great read for anyone who holds hope that the kids are alright and that food can go beyond the bar code.

“Closer to the Ground” by Dylan Tomine, 264 pages, Patagonia Books 2012. Foreword by Tom McGuane.


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