This incredible email came my way from Terezka, who now lives in Ithaca, NY, but who once called herself a proud planter Amazonian. Some of you crusty old-timers may remember a great little tree planting documentary, Cache 22, from the late 90s. Yep, Terezka’s brainchild:
In a treeplanting camp, we all meet people who profoundly change our lives. You met your husband. I met a dear friend.
My BFF, Meg, and I met on crew near Prince George in the early ’90’s. Let’s just say that if we were both single lesbians, I definitely would have asked her out on a date. The fact that Meg spells Gem backwards just about says it all. Never did I meet anyone who was so darn likable, smart, brave, generous, creative, empathic and generally awesome. When Meg and I planted, we were Amazon women reincarnate who wore our “Invincible Misfits” badges on our sleeves. You know what I mean. Meg planted for a year or two longer than I did and eventually started teaching writing at Vanier College in Montréal. We became mamas at the same time. Twice. She was a writer, too, married to Andy Brown of Conundrum Press. It was actually Meg’s sister Kate who sent me your book last winter much to my jubilant anticipation knowing that Meg would have been thrilled, too, of your publication.
Now comes the sad part: Meg died in January 2011 from advanced breast cancer at the age of 43. In large part, she blamed the cancer on being exposed to so many [name your poison]-icides that she worked with during those silvicultural halcyon days. Who really knows? I’m sure many, if not all, of the chemicals the tree nurseries generously shower onto those wimpy seedlings are highly carcinogenic. Of course, we didn’t all get sick. Maybe it is just those gemstone souls who are born with the wrong genes for this poisonous world who succumb to cancer.
I share this, in part, because I know you can relate to the tragic aspects of the log planting industry. You recall the quips: “We’ll all be suffering prematurely from horrible ailments such as arthritis.” as we try to unfurl The Claw…or “Those sprays are so toxic we’ll probably all get cancer.”
Sigh. Those effin chemicals.
One of Meg’s favorite life experiences was the indisputably formative work of planting trees. Despite the fact that we were knowingly cogs in the wheels of deforestation, she was still a committed environmentalist who embraced the complicated intermingling of nature and culture that so characterizes the tree planting world. Able to flaunt our strength by tapping into our hominid self, we could simultaneously spar with Nietzsche or some other dead white guy, while wading through dense slash and screefing the b’jesus out of the land.
This entry was posted on Wednesday, March 20th, 2013 at 12:39 am
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