Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Le flâneur du pays avant le vitrine jardiniere

Sometimes a journey begins and almost immediately one finds oneself with a new companion who immediately reinvigorates the spirit with which the adventure was conceived. 

So it has been for me: another newly created blog will become a fixed point by which I can maintain my bearings. A fellow country resident in a nearby town, a gardener, rose cultivator extraordinaire, librarian, newspaper columnist, fabulous cook and baker, mother, grandmother, wife and community volunteer, has established her web presence with the Common Weeder. I plan to rely on her postings to serve as my vitrine jardiniere, my garden window. Her web site is not so much a new companion as it is an old friend, packed and ready for travel.

In truth this is someone I have known ever since I encountered her columns, written for the Greenfield Recorder in 1989. She was living with her husband in Beijing, working for an English-language magazine about Chinese life. This was the time of the student protests in Tiananmen Square, and each day she offered a new article with fresh news. We were new to the country then, and I thought, "This is amazing! This small town newspaper has a reporter stationed in China!" Only later did I realize that she was on a two-year sabbatical from her regular gardening column (and rural life) and had seized the opportunity (taken the responsibility) of reporting back to her readers on something both timely and important, albeit not quite gardening.

Since that turbulent time (for China at least) she has continued to comment and observe, through her column, on the vagaries of life and gardening. She has also become the librarian for a nearby small town, and in so doing, avidly promoted reading programs for readers young and old - especially for the young (hmm... but for the old, too!). She and her husband are valued and much-loved friends. I fully expect that, in true gardener fashion, she will share the bounty of her latest gardening enterprise, her blog, and that we will be able to reap her wisdom as she regularly comments on gardening and life. We will heed the guideposts she has planted, and hope to emulate her take on the responsibility of gardening, building (in the broadest sense) and living.

So readers of this blog would do well to jump to more firma terra and visit http://www.commonweeder.blogspot.com and begin to know this remarkable woman.

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