this month's collab for Jaunt: greener pastures.
My Greener Pastures are Blue and Grey
i played around with this idea a lot. greener pastures... often the road we wish we had taken, or the thing that our neighbor has that we envy. i'm not going to lie; there are certainly decisions i wish i had or hadn't made, and i wonder where my life might be if i'd done that. and i certainly wouldn't mind owning a house, or a car, but i don't think that would necessarily make my life better. just different.
no... for me, greener pastures are the thing i will earn, later in life. i will earn the right to indulge in a few things. and it will be sweet, all the sweeter for having been earned rather than given.
the place i will be when i reach that greener pasture is a cottage. not a fancy one, not the way they used to define 'cottage' in, say, Newport, or the Hamptons. just a small, shingled cottage on the beach.
okay, okay. building on the beach is bad. i know that. i taught ecology for a lot of years, lived on the Cape, worked with several groups to protect the fragile ecosystem of the shore line. and when i see people whining about their fancy summer getaway that got washed out to sea in the last nor'easter, i don't shed a lot of tears. but i do think it's possible to live near the water in a responsible way.
(um... okay. didn't mean to get all defensive. how is it that i overanalyze my own dreams? geez... they're just dreams.)
there's one house that comes to mind when i think about hiding away in my own little cottage. i was driving up north, and i glanced down to the right as i went over the river. down by the base of the bridge was a tiny island, not even big enough to be a postage stamp. and it had one house on it. there was a dinghy moored by the front door, to ferry back and forth to the shore. and i thought, 'that would be perfect.' to have a little island all to yourself - how great would that be?
the idea of a cottage also plays into a lot of childhood memories. we always had a week down on the Cape, before we moved down there. and i loved exploring the cottages that we got. it was great fun, as a kid, to have free run of someone else's house for a little while. you could peek in all the cabinets, and figure out the secrets and the quirks.
there were cottages in the family, too. they're gone, now. i don't even drive by to see what's happened to them; i'd rather just have the memories. we lived in my aunt's cottage when we were moving, since we had to be out of the old house, and the new house wasn't quite ready yet. those few weeks, with stacks and stacks of old paperbacks, and salt smelling air, and candlestick lamps, and scratchy couch cushions, and the beach at the end of the street, were wonderful.
so part of the cottage dream is recapturing a place where i was happy. it's also about wanting to create my own little refuge. after working and saving for years to do that, it will be my reward. i'm looking forward to those mornings where i roll out of bed, tuck my feet in a pair of slippers, and pad into the kitchen to plug in the tea kettle, then settle down to watch the birds at the feeder while i wait for the water to boil. i'll be able to look out into the yard and see the rambler roses blooming while i wash up the dishes. i can sit out on the porch, flipping idley thru the paper, and debate what sort of sandwich to pack for my walk along the dunes. i'll sit in the sand, scrunching my toes up, arms wrapped around my knees, soaking in another sunset on the bay.
and i'll be able to putter around the house, doing all those small projects and repairs. the shingles i'll leave bare, letting them weather to a gentle grey. but the trim, and the shutters? the color will probably change at a whim. lilac one year, peach another... or perhaps a crazy quiltwork of colors, just because i can. i'll cover the windows in sheer panels, and hang sun catchers everywhere, so the wooden floor will sparkle with many small rainbows, partly for me, partly for the cats to chase. the chairs will all be the old cottage style, those heavy wide arms that make it impossible to move because they're so damn heavy, but just the right width for balancing a drink or a cup of tea while you're reading some yummy book. i'll have a round window over the bed, and a cast iron tub - the slipper kind that doesn't use up too much water, but is an indulgence, nonetheless.
and there will be a garden, of sorts. i always dream a larger garden than i'll ever be able to manage. but little pots of herbs and nasturtiums, hanging off the deck rail or in window boxes - that would be just the right touch.
it's not particularly green. it's pretty much every other color. it's grey, and blue, and white, and tempting, and it's my greener pasture.