Wednesday, 16 February 2011

An Introduction to Wayside

I never realized how hard it is to pick a name for a blog. Some people just seem to be good at names – for shops, on-line games, blogs, houses, whatever. Maybe it’s a talent and maybe it requires practice. I like the idea of having one name suitable for several purposes, but to find something that fits me, and could equally be blog, shop, or house/farm, so as not to be too confusing? I love the idea of naming your place, like you see in England.
Anyway, I thought, and leafed through books of quotations, and poetry, and whatnot. But nothing spoke to me until I got to Longfellow. I love Longfellow, have since I discovered ‘Evangeline’ and ‘Hiawatha’ years ago. I have a beautiful old edition I dip into every so often, and this time, looking for something else, I came across his encomium on Robert Burns, and the verse,

‘Touched by his hand, the wayside weed
Becomes a flower; the lowliest reed
Beside the stream
 Is clothed in beauty; gorse and grass
And heather, where his footsteps pass,
The brighter seem.’

            And it is a lovely notion – of beauty (and worth) being, as it were, in how something is perceived or presented. Especially ‘weeds’. I have an affinity for that part, being into natural dyes, and learning the uses of herbs and plants, and ‘weed’ is so dependent on your perspective. Me, I like having a patch of nettles. Sure they sting. But they are also very useful. I have socks dyed grey-green with nettle, and I am bound to say a cream of nettle soup is very tasty and full of vitamins, although I think next time I’ll strain the leaves out; they’re a little hairy for my liking. Nettles are also supposed to make good compost accelerators, and the stems will yield a bast fiber similar to linen for spinning. Why wouldn’t you want nettles around?
            Wayside. It suggests somewhere quiet and relaxed. Off the beaten path, maybe overlooked. Not showy, but having potential and value nevertheless if you can see it. A place I would like to live in, and an idea I would love to share with people.   

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