I first met Frank through the book he wrote about his garden’s history, The Greater Perfection: The Story of the Gardens at Les Quatre Vents, a fair portion of which can be read online courtesy of Google Books. (For the passionate gardeners among you who simply must have the book despite its cost, please note that Hortus Press sells it for less money than amazon.com).
Les Quatre-Vents was 75 years in the making and while very much bearing the signature of its current owners, it clearly remembers the previous generations: the horizontal lines that anchor the house to the landscape, the tree-lined drive up to the house, the carpet of plain green lawn, the framed vista of the distant hills, all were dreamed up by previous stewards of the land.
When I feed my levain, morning and night, inhaling the complex and rustic fragrance of the freshly milled grains, I feel my hands come alive with the gestures of countless generations of women who have been baking bread in my family over the centuries. When our grand-children help with the scaling and mixing or simply when they tear eagerly into the loaves I make for them, I know that, on another continent and in a different language, they are acquiring the taste of bread and, beyond bread, being handed a thread of their past to weave into their present and their future. It feels right. I imagine that, on a much larger scale, Frank and Anne have the same feeling when they look back at what they have achieved.