Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A tale of two cottages

Upon being home for a week from family holidays, this is some thoughts on our time away:

Two weeks, two locations, two different cottages, and two very different experiences.

The first week… coming down from the busyness of life, and at the same time getting into the groove of being together 24/7 with kids and husband… brought a myriad of emotions to the surface. Some good, some complicated. But the end result was a rush of creativity from deep in my psyche that found a home in words. Lots and lots of words written into my journal as we drove in the car, sat in the cottage, walked on the beach… even as we sat together in restaurants. Scribbling madly at all times of the day and night… inspired by every imaginable thing, but MOSTLY by the place.

Here is that place…

Even the sheer number of photos taken in and around the cottage show me that this place was special… it had a sense of itself… a history… a unique story to tell… didn't have to prove anything to anyone… it just was. And my love of most things 'old' instantly bonded me to it. And at home in this place, my creative side was at home too rather than hiding and seeking an appropriate time and place to emerge.

I've seldom seen as many doors or cupboards as this cottage had… along with squeaky doors and stairs, dishes with a lighthouse motif, and a washer and dryer in the old garage with it's resident spiders. The stove was crooked, the dishwasher (oh, there was no dishwasher!), and the falling down hand built stone wall with it's half dead perennial border were things that I very quickly grew to love. Was it perfect… no! Was it real and exactly what I/we needed… yep! Some sand in the corners, slightly worn chairs in the living room, and a flagpole in the yard that had given in to the onslaught of salt air over many years. Very quirky…

Things that I remember best are windows thrown open to the sea breezes, a long winding pathway down to the beach… and a view of the horizon when the fog cleared. Then, on the very last evening… whales! Three of them!

So, I can say that our week together in this wonderful, old, creaky cottage was memorable… was fulfilling… was good. The latest postings at my poetry blog 'my grace notes' are reflective of that.

The second cottage was lovely too… but in a neat, well put together, newish kind of way. We could have been anywhere in the world inside the walls of this townhouse…beachy decor abounded, and the views out the windows were not of the sea, but of other vacation homes in the rather densely developed 'neighbourhood'.

It was clean and tidy, beds were comfortable, and appliances of the stainless steel kind. Every need was met, but my soul was not at home there. It's not the first time we've stayed in a vacation property like that one… but the result is always the same for me… slightly disappointed… slightly pensive and wishing for something a little more real. You know… with some there there.

I don't even have a good photo of the outside to show you… just this porch shot of me with a book… snoozing in the sun (which we seldom saw), and another from the porch looking at the surrounding neighbourhood. I think you get the general idea though.

So I walked on the beach in search of what I left behind in the other cottage and it's surroundings. Found a different type of beach with different treasures. Found things to do and places to go with the family… all good, all memories that I/we will cherish.

But, the first cottage is going to stick with me for some time, both in photos and in my mind as a place that stimulated creativity and writing through it's lack of pretence, and it's abundance of character… something that this 40 something writer/poet can relate to.

That's me anyway…


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