Katherine Bitney is in love with her ecosystem. From the boreal forest to her vegetable garden, Bitney writes of the beauties of a northern natural world, drawing the reader deeply into the dance of the seasons. But it is not all raindrops and flowers. Bitney also challenges the reader to think ethically about the environment. She looks at the uncomfortable parts of nature, and ourselves, and prods us to re-evaluate our own place in the ecosystem. A beautiful and thought-provoking book.
Excerpt from “The Green Dragon”
We lived in the northern forest for two months the summer I was eleven turning twelve. I recall the scents, the height of the trees, the heat of clearings, the sound of feet on moss and cracking twigs. Picking berries, listening to the lap of lake against shore stones. Watching, hearing the little float planes take off and land on the lake.
The scent of the summer forest. The air full of oxygen. Small dusty roads. The taste of bush food: fresh fish caught off the pier, cooked outdoors in a bit of butter and flour; wild raspberries pulled off the bush and popped into the mouth. Bursting with juice and tasting like rubies. Distant wolf voices. The frisson of always knowing there are bears somewhere around, or moose in their craziness charging out of nowhere. Rain in the trees, dripping long after the rain has stopped. Those strange black edges and holes in leaves, bacteria already eating them as they grow. Spindly forest floor plants reaching for what sun they can catch. Treetops tossing with ravens, crows, eagles. Their calls fixing in your heart and memory, your body, somewhere primeval.
An artful meditation on our landscape (Adam Petrash, Winnipeg Free Press, 17/08/2013)
“Bitney challenges us to strongly rethink the language we use when it comes to how we look at our environment. She poses the idea that little changes in perspective (and language) can ripple into bigger (and better) changes for us as a whole; that only when we respectfully reconnect ourselves back to the spirit and the land of the boreal that only then will we be able to consider a greener future.”