What I love about our house that sits across from the sea is that it is like living in a cottage all the time. In the summer we hang our salty towels on the porch and barely let them dry before we hit the next high tide. In the winter we get a fire going in the air tight wood stove and crowd around while watching Coronation Street in the evening.
We do have electricity in our big old home, which is more than we had at my family cottage in the Kawarthas. At my family cottage we thrived with a propane stove and fridge, an airtight wood stove, an outhouse, propane lights and candles. And we lived like that every summer. We played in the lake, read books and comic books, painted, played games and wrote in our colorful journals that our mother gave us and that still sit in a chest at the cottage.
My siblings still make their way out to the old cottage and feel the gentle breeze of carefree childhood flowing through the old curtains. Such strong memories that reside in our hearts. Now, as an adult, the heady scent of coffee and a wood fire, or the tinny roar of a distant motor boat can suddenly make you stand very still and remember. Your mind travels to your ten year old body and you suddenly feel free and light.
So I love living in my version of the cottage, with my own family. We feel the weather, we live with the bugs of the season and we are carried by the changing seasons from one palette of colors to the next.
As autumn creeps towards us the green marshes gradually change to gold. Autumn draws artists and photographers to the bay as the gold of the marshes lies across the dark blue sea and borders the bright blue sky.
Blue Herons feed in the low tide and eventually we will hear and see the V formation of the geese.
When the fantastic show of changing leaves has wrapped up and the tourists and geese have left, we live in a icy, snowy landscape. My view from the window is of black branches against a white tundra of cresting waves of snow and ice.
Winter is beautiful, but the glaring white landscape, so white it is almost blue, wears out its welcome around 6 months later.
We crave spring, it is cold, rainy and muddy but we don’t mind and we dig around hopefully in the wet leaves exposing green shoots.
Summer appears suddenly with a full blown green landscape, jellyfish and bugs and life everywhere. It becomes wet and humid, hot and misty. The porch has fat spiders in the corner, the bees and hummingbirds buzz the flowers all day.
These simple patterns fill the year: order wood, turn off the furnace and turn on the dehumidifier, pile wood, move the wood inside, store the dehumidifier, turn the furnace on low and start collecting kindling for the wood stove.
Should we make a fire? Not yet, but it is coming. Now back to our games.