A Cottage Life

Isle of Skye by Shawna Sherbarth
Isle of Skye by Shawna Sherbarth

Living in the midst of the city, I often dream of a cottage at the foot of a mountain with herbs in the garden, a cat in the window, tea kettle on the hearth, and a much-loved friend coming for a visit. This vision includes handwritten cards on Crane stationary (fountain pen, of course), delicious home-cooked food, close community, and spacious time where relationships can deepen and love can find a restful, quiet intimacy I rarely experience in the age of iPods.

The dream of cottage life can either be put off to some distant day that may never arrive, or it can be lived out in a land of cell phones, emails, subways, and where trees rent space from concrete. The source of this vision eludes me, but its magic returns again and again to remind me of what is most important, to ask the question: How might I live the ‘cottage life’ now, today?

Technology is exciting and helpful, it connects me to people I can only physically see once a year, but it can also lead to relational disembodiment with those I see every day: virtual connection without touch or taste, textures or textural nuance. The stuff of intimacy is deeply physical—expression, tone, physical touch—the 80% of communication that goes beyond speech. A handwritten card speaks more intimately than an email or Facebook wall-post—it can be held, pondered, cherished.

I believe the cottage life is one of incarnation—cultivating embodied, sensory, three-dimensional relationships off the flat screen. Of course, a blog is hardly tangible and possibly at odds with my topic. Yet, I hope that I can capture something of this ‘life’ here in these reflections and hear from others.