Some would say that making a new life in a small, rural town, way down at the bottom of the world, far, far away from "everything", is running away, becoming self-focused and almost a hermit. I might have even been one of those know-alls once upon a time. Small communities can be suffocating, insular, backward and treat newcomers like aliens. I understand there are such undercurrents in Tasmania and even here in Cygnet.
However my experience over the last 9 months is one I never would have expected nor dared hope for. As I sit here in my lounge, all around me are momentos of the people who have shared so generously with me and invited me into their lives. Next to my laptop is one of a whole stack of French cookbooks and vegetable gardening books, lent to me to read over the holidays by Jan of Woodbridge. Behind me are 2 big, comfortable lounge chairs given to me by Liz shortly after I arrived in Cygnet, hand-me-ons from a dear old friend of hers. Next to them is my Christmas tree, cut from Liz's block, then brought back here and decorated with tinsel passed on to me by her Bob. In the kitchen is a hand made coffee tamper and a dibber made by Rod for me as a trial before he started making them to sell. On the floor beside me Pickle is playing with a ball on a rope, given to him for Christmas by my new American gardening friends Ally and Steve who are house-sitting my friend Helen's house in Hobart. Beside the front door is a boule set lent to me for our after Christmas lunch lawn game.....on the lawn that Laura kindly came and mowed for me on Christmas morning.... and so it goes on. I cannot mention them all !
In the garden, just visible from where I am sitting, bloom the dark red, heaven-scented sweet peas which have grown from seeds given to me by Frances. Happily dotted throughout my whole acre are plants people have grown from cuttings or seeds and shared with me. I love that image of a person handing over something living, given with such care, each and every one of them with a little story to tell of how or why they are giving it to the other. In the Christmas bonbons that I made I placed some sunflower seeds which I had saved from the flowers in my garden, soon after I moved into my house. I added a little note, asking the recipient of the bonbon to take one of the seeds and plant it in my garden for me, then to be sure to return often and watch it grow with me. I hope they germinate!
Pride of place is taken by this wonderful sign which all of you who visit will see welcoming you to my Garden Shed business. Erica is a wife, mother and nurse and yet found the time to design and make this for me for Christmas..... look closely and you will even see Pickle standing in the doorway of the shed!
Thanks to the internet and blogs, on my bedside table is a delightful book Pattie (USA) sent me and close by is a little book of poems written by Teleri (France). I have a dvd about gardening in the tropics, from Wilson (Singapore) and I now make seed packets based on the template shared with me by Laura (France).... the list is awesome.
I do not feel at all that I have escaped from anything, but I do feel I have arrived somewhere I belong, where giving includes time, thought and sharing.