Not-So-Wordlesss Wednesday: A Tale Of 3 Bloggers

A funny thing happened on the way to this post. 

I thought I would write about my Christmas wish list — you know, wishing it was warmer, wishing I could plant some seeds — that sort of thing.  At least, that was my plan until I opened up my comments awaiting approval, where I read the urgent request of The Last Leaf Gardener (TLLG), a gardener based in New York City.  She was worried about the health and well-being of another blogger, Patrick of Patrick’s Garden

TLLG had posted a comment on Patrick’s site but hadn’t heard from him.  When she tried to phone him, she learned that the phone was not in service.  Concerned, she contacted me because I was the last person to have posted a comment on Patrick’s Garden and to have him respond to me. 

I wrote back to TLLG.  No, I typed, I don’t know anything about Patrick — but if I do hear of anything, I will contact her. 

The truth is, I did know a bit about Patrick because of his posts — but that was it.  I had never met him or spoken to him.  All we shared were a handful of comments on one another’s blogs.  So why was I now so worried?  Why should I worry about someone I’ve never met, about someone where our only interaction had been type-written words?  And that’s when the lightbulb lit up.   I’ve read his words — not only about gardening, but about his life and all that he does.  He’s in Kansas and I’m in New York — but once we learn so much about each other in this personal-but-impersonal blogosphere, doesn’t that make us neighbors of a sort?   As gardeners, as bloggers, as people — aren’t we members of a community?

I too called the number on his blog, but it was out of service, just like TLLG indicated.  Next stop, Google.  I managed to find another number.   

“Hello,” I said.  “I’m hoping you can help me.  I’m calling from New York, and I’m trying to reach someone named Patrick. . . His last name?  No, I don’t know a last name, but he gardens and he’s a blogger.”  For a moment, I think I sounded a bit looney.  For another moment, I worried that I was completely overstepping some sort of boundary of appropriateness.

Within a few moments, I was connected to the man behind Patrick’s Garden.  The truth is, he’s doing fine — but some technical issues kept him from his blog.  And as for my believing I was out of bounds, nothing could have been further from the truth.  Patrick was impressed/flattered that a stranger had checked on him — but once we have read about each other, are we truly strangers?

It was a great conversation.   Suddenly, we were real.  We were the voices behind the typed words, talking about the weather and gardening and garden centers and gardening pet peeves — you know, shop talk.  Gardener to gardener.  Blogger to blogger. 

Neighbor to neighbor.

Searching For Peace On Common Ground

The path leading to the Peace Labyrinth.

I was Googling the other day, looking for information on labyrinth gardens and I was surprised to find one practically in my backyard.  I took the short drive to visit The Common Ground, a community garden in Sayville, NY.  Its philosophy is simple: “A place where getting to know your neighbor is as easy as a walk in the park.”

Through the efforts of volunteers, grants, and donations, the park is a social-cultural haven for the  local community.  Nestled in a quiet residential neighborhood, the garden was born in the wake of September 11, 2001, when local residents wanted

The Peace Labyrinth at the Common Ground Garden in Sayville, NY.

to create something positive for the larger community.  As more and more people and local organizations became involved, and with the help of fundraising, the little-used Rotary Park became a centerpiece for all.  Today, the garden welcomes visitors to enjoy yoga, concerts, and movies.  

If the pavilion in the center of the park is its crown, then the Peace Garden Labyrinth is the jewel.  The brainchild of Marianne Fulfaro, who designed, laid out, and funded the project in memory of her parents, the labyrinth is constructed of paving stones and red gravel.  To reach it, visitors walk down a paver path that is lined with shrubs

Echinacea along the path to the Peace Labyrinth.

and flowering perrenials, all planted by volunteers under the guidance of local master gardener Nancy Angermaier.  At the labyrinth’s start is a plaque with instructions on how to walk the circuitous path.

With a history dating back thousands of years, the labyrinth is symbolic of life’s journey.  While a maze has dead ends, the labyrinth offers the traveler a neverending path.  As the journey begins, the walker is faced with twists and turns, each one bringing the individual closer to the center and then sending them further away. 

I especially liked the blue of the evergreen and the yellow of the Black-Eyed Susans.

Ultimately, the center is reached.  The goal is that through a meditative walk, a visitor will feel more calm and centered, maybe even walking away with a solution to something that has weighed heavily upon his or her mind.

 The Common Ground Park and Peace Labyrinth is a true testament of what a community park can and should be.  For more information, please visit their website.  To find a labyrinth garden in your area, check out World-Wide Labyrinth Locator.  Special thanks to Suzanne Robilotta, this year’s Common Ground president, for helping me to fill in the gaps.