Thursday, March 11, 2010

My Friend Yoko

One of the best things to come out of this blogging I've begun is the reconnection it has given me to my good friend Yoko in Japan. Two of Yoko's children, Makiko and Michito, spent a little time with us when they were students and we grew very close to their family. A few years back, we flew to Japan for the wedding of Makiko. Yoko flew here a few years later. She and her husband had been to our farm right after Maki's graduation from college in the U.S. but Yoko's husband sadly passed away before Maki's wedding.

Yoko and I bonded the minute we met. Isn't it funny how that happens with some people? I felt the same connection with the moms of both my daughters-in-law, one of whom tragically died of cancer before either of her and our beautiful grandchildren were born. I miss her still.

But enough of the sadness. Back to Yoko, one of the most delightful, loving, upbeat people on the planet. Yoko decided after her first visit here that she wanted to be able to communicate in the same language with me because we had so much to talk about. She loves plants and flowers as I do, knows all the botanical names, loves to ride horses and milk goats when she comes to our farm, is interested in birds, loves to read. In short, Yoko shares all my interests. I started trying to learn Japanese but I am hopeless at languages and not nearly so dedicated as Yoko. She takes English lessons and now practices by translating my blogs and commenting to me in English by email.

I have learned so much about Yoko's life from her emails since I started this blog... and since she began writing to me in English. I love it! She writes about her garden, the heavy snow that Japan is getting this spring, her children and grandchildren, the books she is reading, and much more.

Today she shared a bit of sad news: nine Toki, Japanese Crested Ibis, that were scheduled for release into the wild in September were killed by a marten. Toki are being brought back from near extinction by dedicated bird lovers in Japan with the help of dedicated bird lovers in China. Here's a website telling about the birds and the efforts to save them. Losing nine is a heartbreaking setback.

Well, how's that for a cheerful post? Must be all the rain today putting a damper on my thoughts. But tomorrow is a new day. The Toki will rebound, with help from their human friends. And so will I. Like my daffodils that were bowed down earlier this week under a light snowfall but bravely popped up after the snow melted, we each have stormy weather that beats us down but can't keep us down. Tomorrow (or maybe the day after that or the day after that) the rain will stop and the sun will shine again. And my friend Yoko will write another newsy email, letting me know that even though many miles and a great ocean divide us, we are still connected.

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