Friday, March 4, 2011

The Cottage of Make Believe

I've been sick since I wrote last -- totally down for the count; in bed 24/7 and everything -- and I'm feeling particularly small and childish today. That said, I've been far away in some comforting Make Believe that I feel like sharing. It's about my favorite place. This place takes on many guises, but this is the one I'm going with for now, the one that's been in my head this long week of under-the-weather-ness:

There's a tiny cottage in a tiny clearing in the woods, just like in the Grimm stories, only it's not made of candy and gingerbread. It's made of stone. There's only one room inside, and the little cottage windows with their thick ripply glass look out into the trees.

An orange cat lives there all the time, snoozing on a cushy threadbare chair bedecked in a faded granny-square afghan. Near the chair stands a warm stove upon which a kettle always simmers, ready for tea. And there's a little pine table, too, with a cloth thrown over it and a jelly jar full of woodland flowers standing in the center.

Every room is full of books -- books tucked haphazardly into shelves, books stacked in corners, books piled on horizontal surfaces. There are cobwebs, of course, and some dust bunnies. Paint is peeling, there are water stains in the corners. They add to the ambience, and besides -- no one easily offended by dust and too many books can find this place....

In this cottage there is no power save for candles and a woodfire in the stove. (It's a cozy stove, too; you can see the cheerful flames through its little grill...). There's no telephone, no Internet, no television, facebook, Twitter, anything. But there are musical instruments. And a manual typewriter and a bunch of paper, pens and a stack of thin-lined notebooks, pencils and some pads of drawing paper.

No timepieces exist in this place, and no danger lurks in the trees. There are no bears or dragons or housing developers. There are no door-to-door salesmen or bible thumpers. No one to clean house for, no one to look good for. No demands whatsoever.

And if one knows the magic words, one can escape to this cottage for as long as one likes.

And time in the Real World stands still and waits for them to return....

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