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The Cottage

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Jul. 30th, 2012 | 01:55 pm

Nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita
mi ritrovai per una selva oscura,
ché la diritta via era smarrita.

                                          - Dante Alighieri, Inferno


It’s the sound of the water, the water that calls forth every then, every time. Bonfires at the water’s edge, piled with a summer’s driftwood, the flames snapping orange-white, the river lapping the flames, the old metal swing bed pinching unwary fingers. The dress-up box and the fights, the terrible fights over who wore the white tutu to be Swan Princess and who was Stepmother in black. The lawn ballets, the lawn gymkhanas, each cousin describing her own horse-self trotting through the shallows, kicking up spray on the seaweed-slick shale. Michael Jackson starting something, Olivia Newton-John getting physical from the boombox stuffed with D batteries, the aunts aerobicizing on the grass. Ice cream, and the walk to get ice cream, sticking to the graveled edge of the main road. The whitewashed church just down the way. Home movies flickering on a sheet pinned to the wall, our grandparents young and laughing with pink ladies and gin sours and my mother darting her hand in front of the projector beam when the jazzy party got hot. The story of the bear told in a flashlit circle, hands slapping on knees and drumming on the gentle hill of the warped floor. The story-bear chased but never caught us, the uncles still alive, still un-divorced, chain-sawing the branches from the big fallen tree. At night, the children slept in tents, our stories and squabbles out of hearing, we thought, and ran out in the morning to fish bony perch from the end of the old red dock. The aunts plumbed and hammered and papered over cracks, the walls and marriages paper-thin. The cottage, brown and leaning Paradise, still stood—we still spoke, then, our mothers still speak, reminding us of when we found kittens under the steps or a hummingbird chick to raise in cotton wool, when we could fix, take care, when we were whole.



_________________________________
whipchick dedicates this piece to Julie, Cher and Glennis. More lawn aerobics, please.



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Comments {14}

Myrna

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from: myrna_bird
date: Jul. 31st, 2012 07:41 pm (UTC)
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Dating the time with the MJ and ONJ references was perfect. What a cluster of great memories from the cottage. I loved it!

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whipchick

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from: whipchick
date: Aug. 5th, 2012 10:02 pm (UTC)
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Thank you! I'm about to go out tomorrow to see the new house - the cottage has been leveled and I want to see what my aunt built as a year-round house :)

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blahblahblah, whatever

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from: kathrynrose
date: Aug. 4th, 2012 05:38 pm (UTC)
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I love the way all of these things come together as one detailed memory.

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whipchick

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from: whipchick
date: Aug. 5th, 2012 10:02 pm (UTC)
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Thank you!

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alycewilson

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from: alycewilson
date: Aug. 8th, 2012 08:12 pm (UTC)
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I liked this very much. What a richly textured portrait of that remembered moment in time.

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whipchick

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from: whipchick
date: Aug. 14th, 2012 08:54 pm (UTC)
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Thank you :) It's a bit of a love letter to my aunts.

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(no subject)

from: anonymous
date: Aug. 10th, 2012 11:48 pm (UTC)
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Thank you and wonderful to read more than just once...

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Aug. 14th, 2012 08:54 pm (UTC)
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So pleased you liked it!

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Laura, aka "Ro Arwen"

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from: roina_arwen
date: Aug. 11th, 2012 07:51 pm (UTC)
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Very visual and charmingly written, with an aura of timelessness.

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whipchick

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from: whipchick
date: Aug. 14th, 2012 08:54 pm (UTC)
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Thank you! Love the icon :)

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Laura, aka "Ro Arwen"

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from: roina_arwen
date: Aug. 14th, 2012 08:59 pm (UTC)
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I am known far and wide for my range of icons, LOL. I've got over 200 at my command! =)

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(Deleted comment)

whipchick

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from: whipchick
date: Aug. 14th, 2012 08:54 pm (UTC)
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I was envisioning you on your own writing retreat this week!

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Lose 10 Pounds of Ugly Fat...  Cut Off Your Head.

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from: n3m3sis42
date: Aug. 13th, 2012 01:54 pm (UTC)
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Is this considered stream-of-consciousness? I never know about the mechanics of stuff but it had that sort of feel to me. Really interesting way to share the memories - pyrotechnic. :)

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whipchick

(no subject)

from: whipchick
date: Aug. 14th, 2012 08:55 pm (UTC)
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Yeah, I'd call it stream-of-consciousness. Not as out there as James Joyce, but not super linear, either. Thanks :) I was hoping the little bomb at the end would read!

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