Blogs come and blogs go. There’s nothing strange or worrisome in that, generally speaking. But when a friend vanishes without a trace, c'est inquiètant. It’s disturbing. So no, it isn’t snow-capped mountains I want to see in China, it’s the smiling face of a blogger whose life I used to follow on a daily basis, not the abstract “snows of yesterday” I seek but a young Chinese woman, a teacher of French, thoughtful, lively, outspoken, sensitive to earth’s beauties and literature’s mysteries. She blogged under the name Neige.
The first blog Neige wrote was blocked by the Chinese government shortly before the anniversary of the 1989 demonstrations in Tiananmen Square. All access to Blogger sites were blocked, presumably because the government feared discussion of the historic event. Undaunted, the intrepid blogger (and it seems strange to describe her that way, as her blog was, in general, not at all political in nature but much more a personal vision of her everyday world) moved to another site. But you see what happens when you attempt to access the more recent blog: “La page demandée n’existe pas.” The page you asked for does not exist. Et alors? Où est-elle, la jeune femme charmante?
Neige blogged in French, I in English. When we commented on each other’s blogs, we used sometimes one language, sometimes the other. The other evening, watching a documentary on China, the sight of a canal through a Chinese town brought Neige to mind. She had completed her master’s in French, and the town where she had gone to teach had canals. I don’t remember its name. I don’t know hers. I do know that she had regular readers in France, in Canada and in the United States. I know that her birthday is December 25. I know that her smile brightened our days and that the images of her daily life were windows for us into another world. It brought that world to us as a friendly, inviting, neighborly kind of place.
Neige, I miss you. This post is a message in a bottle, flung into Lake Michigan in hopes it will find its way to the ocean and around the world to wherever you are. David sends greetings, too. Tu nous manques.