I thought I'd pass along my final editor's note, for the October, 2010 issue of the Exchange.
The monkey-tail tree is gone. I may have gasped audibly when I realized that. In late August, I took a trip home to see family in Northern Ireland. One of the first outings was to a favorite childhood beach in Donegal.
I loved going to Fahan. The beach was just twenty minutes out of Derry, where we lived. The city would disappear quickly, giving way to farms and the surrounding hills, on the short drive. Nowadays, subdivisions stretch along most of the drive and the cows and sheep have moved further uphill. But I knew to look for the landmark that had always meant the beach was close - a lone monkey-tail tree.
The tree is a South America import to Ireland, with spiny sharp leaves on long, swooping branches which resemble monkey tails. In the Ireland of my youth, the tree was rare, but I always knew, as we rounded a bend and the tree’s tangled branches came into view, that we were close to the beach.
Maybe a storm claimed it, or age, or a homeowner seeking a better view of the strand.
Things change mostly by small degree and go largely unnoticed. It is the big and sudden changes that strike us hardest and the loss of that landmark tree struck me deeply. It now belonged to the past.
It occurred to me that anyone first driving this road now would not look for the monkey tail tree. It would not belong to their world.
Every month for 16 years, I have waited as a new edition of the Exchange returned from the printer. For advertisers, contributors and readers, the Exchange has been a regular part of the landscape - a familiar sight.
No more. This is the final edition of the Exchange. We’re all busy here, planning new publications and digital endeavors that are really quite exciting. You’ll see and hear about those very soon.
Life goes on. The Exchange, like that tree, won’t be missed by whoever passes this way in the future. There will be new landmarks.
But I am proud of what the Exchange managed to accomplish. We covered many topics that were fringe years ago and are mainstream now. We shone an early light on healthy eating and sustainable living in our community.
Personally, I met numerous wonderful, creative writers, illustrators and photographers who all contributed to our magazine. And I’m grateful to all of the advertisers who joined with us in creating this community and supporting the magazine.
Most gratifying has been meeting and hearing from you, the readers. We’ve shared a lot over the years and I have appreciated all of your comments, both good and bad. Whether delivered via emails, telephone calls, or in person, your words helped make this a true exchange. And while the magazine may be disappearing, that exchange continues. Visit our website, www.outpost.coop, shop our stores - and keep in touch.