ALLOW ME TO INTRODUCE our emblem, the pretty and ubiquitous
What better motif than a leaf for a publication aspiring to
help people make the most of their country lifestyle? It's on our cover as a
jaunty accent over the "I" in our "flag," which is magazine
jargon for the printed title, Acreage Life.
Our first, patriotic thought was the maple leaf. As it
happens, though, this national symbol is not prevalent from coast to coast.
Poplar trees are more common in our distribution area, from Ontario to British
Columbia. In fact, the poplar is renowned as North America's most abundant
Having adopted the poplar leaf, we had more ideas for it.
We're using it to signify the end of each feature story. (Don't you hate it
when you're uncertain you've come to the end of a magazine article, and you
flip around to see if there's more?) In magazine speak, that little symbol is
called a dingbat. And yes, we instructed the exasperated designer, the leaf
dingbat had to appear in these places at the same breezy, looking-forward
angle, although a vertical format would take up less space on the page.
Since Acreage Life anticipates the seasonal needs and
interests of acreage owners, our dingbat leaf changes colour. Our debut issue,
emerging in April along with spring, featured lime green leaves throughout. The
leaves are a deeper green in this summer issue. In September ... well, you'll
just have to wait and see.
Having done some research on the poplar family recently, I
can tell you the choice of this leaf as our symbol was serendipitous: it suits
Its Latin name, Populus (people), refers to the practice of
planting poplars in city squares. You seldom see one poplar; they like group
dynamics. Our convivial magazine is a virtual gathering place for acreage
Poplar groves provide wildlife habitat, too, and fostering an
appreciation for nature is one focus of Acreage Life.
Heart-shaped poplar leaves, bursting forth in bluffs on a
sunny afternoon, herald spring. The leaf stems of aspen poplars are especially
long, so the leaves shimmer and whisper in the breeze. Aboriginals knew aspens
as "talkative" trees, and we're communicators, too.
Some poplar varieties produce quantities of fluffy pollen
that blow across the land. Under proper conditions, the poplar fluff produces
seedlings. Similarly, Acreage Life is spreading across the countryside. We're
dispersing information and ideas, trusting they will fall on fertile ground.
The poplar's vigourous root system makes it unsuitable for
urban yards, but great for acreages. Saplings springing from the roots are
clones of the parent. An enormous stand of poplar in Salt Lake City may well be
the largest life form on the planet. Meanwhile, Acreage Life is solidly rooted
in its 82-year-old parent company, The Western Producer.
The magazine strives to be entertaining and practical, and
the hardy poplar is a useful tree. It grows quickly, stands tall, and is a
staple of the pulp and paper industry. The paper now in your hands may well
have poplar content.
A reader claimed taking an Aspirin and browsing through the
first issue of Acreage Life cured her headache. How fitting, since the active
ingredient in this time-honoured pain reliever is extracted from aspen bark.
As to poplar's relatively short life span, you can extend a
metaphor only so far. Besides, 80 to 100 years may not be long for a tree, but
it's a good healthy run for a magazine.
Henceforth, I'll be scrutinizing our boldly printed pull-out
quotes. Errors seem to gather there as if drawn by powerful magnets. Take the
typo, pulled out and writ large in my first column, incorrectly defining an
acre. It should be 43,560 square feet. Those who've been frantically pacing off
their properties and coming up short can relax! Take an Aspirin!