Friday, February 26, 2016


A friend, knowing I desired some time
away, offered her cottage for as long as I needed,
and even provided the ticket to get there.


I hopped onto the train and found myself in a

luxurious and private compartment.  With
no one to see, I put my feet on the seat across 
from me and, feeling the gentle rolling of the
train, watched mile after mile of city, and then
country scenes, go by.  I began to feel myself
relax, with the delicious anticipation mounting
for what lay before me when I stepped from the train into the land my friend had referred to as
"The Deep Country".

My heart beating faster now, 
I quickly gathered my things and made
my way down the isle and stepped off that
"magic carpet" into another land, a land
which seemed foreign and yet familiar somehow; one where time had frozen, where quiet reigned.

I stood on the platform alone and felt that quietude.  There was a slight rustling of leaves in the ancient trees around me; the only other
sound was the chugging and whistle of the train
receding, the chirping of song birds hopping amongst the tree branches.  They seemed to welcome me, and so I took heart, lifted my bag and began to follow the narrow lane which would take me to the cottage.

Walking by serious houses looking like soldiers standing sentinel, I could see beyond to the emerald green of the English countryside, no industry in sight.  No wonder it's called the "green
and pleasant land".

I was happy to see The Old Rectory Tea Room
along the way, and made a mental note to come back and enjoy a cream tea and gather up some of the atmosphere of the village by clinking cups
with some of it's inhabitants.  Would they accept
me, or would I seem an "outsider"?  I
decided to hope for the best.

In the morning light, I peeked through a vine-
covered arbor and the butter yellow gate
to the cozy cottage beyond.  What kind of people
lived there?  Have they ever been beyond the
cloistered world of this village?  Perhaps they
shall live and die here, contented, 
a life well spent.

Beyond their dwelling, I saw an orderly garden
weakly shining through the morning mist; 
cloches still in use, and a wattle fence like a 
picture frame surrounding various colored 
jewels which looked to be dahlias.

I turned, and a pale barn owl silently swooped,
hurrying on its way home before full light.  She
may have babies waiting, crying for the sustenance
she had foraged in the night.

 Along the way I saw ancient homes of wattle and daub, festooned with lush vines, splashes of color at their feet stretching toward the sun. I have often dreamed of seeing such scenes. The home and garden appeared to grow together right out of the ground, which gave life to both.  These homes were built long ago when what was at hand was used to build a snug dwelling.

Near the garden wall I spied wicker bee skeps,
which will yield golden honey for the household;
 the busy bees that inhabit them pollinating the various fruit trees and flowers scattered in a happy profusion throughout the well kept garden.

Hurrying and puffing now along the ever narrowing road, I was being watched by a trio of ewes standing guard in the dewey grass of a large field.  Weary, and feeling the need of rest and sustenance myself, I thankfully remembered my friend's cottage was to be found "just beyond the sheepfold".

I rounded a curve and heard an English robin
singing right above me from a berry-bedazzled tree , "You've found it now!" "You've found it

And there it was, Autumn Cottage…

…just as though it had been awaiting my 
arrival for a long time. I held my breath at it's 
time-worn beauty--it's old stones breathed out a welcome, holding out the promise of meeting my soul-weary needs, asking nothing in return.

I was amazed to find the door wide open--after
gently fingering, and then smelling the red and
white roses surrounding the entryway, I walked right. in. 

Hardly believing my eyes, I found someone had
anticipated my arrival, my every need! To come in to a cheerful fire crackling on the hearth was heartening, plus there were candles lighted, plump cushions in the chair which was pulled up tight to the warmth

I gladly set my bag down and decided to take a  quick look around at what would be my home for some time.  The kitchen was lovely, large, with early morning sunshine pouring through the old and wavy window panes…heart-shaped sugar cookies, warm and fragrant from the oven "spoke" to me from a doily-covered tray!

Hot, strong tea stood at the ready, and I quickly
poured a cup, took the tray of cookies and plopped
into the comfy chair by the fire, warmed
and ready for what might come next.  
A nap right here would be nice...

Later I took a slow walk through the cottage interior and was thrilled to find a well-stocked
larder--there would be no going hungry here.

And a well-stocked library found in a back room was filled with old books, some of them leather bound. They would become my companions by the fire on blustery nights.

 All I would need to spend hours painting the breathtaking scenes around me 
filled an old library table.

And if all this weren't enough, there was an old, chipped table sitting in a sunny window which
would be perfect for writing letters home, and well, just writing.  I felt there were to be
experiences that would beg to be journaled.

I slipped outside to enjoy the sunshine and
fresh country air, and found on the back
step newly laid, warm eggs put carefully 
into a basket.  Cooking here would be a
delight, especially with all the ingredients
fresh, minutes from the hens and the
vegetable and fruit gardens.

Set back from the main house was a guest cottage
with the door ajar allowing me to see an
inviting plump bed and pretty pillows…how
would you like to join me for a weekend, or
even longer?

I was then drawn to an open door in the patched
garden wall--where did it lead?  I stepped
through it, deeply moved at the scene beyond.
Do such places really exist?  
Wait a minute!
Did it exist, or was I only dreaming it all?

I pinched myself to settle the question…
and awoke in my own bed, in my own home!
So it all had been merely a dream, a dream containing all that I have longed for if I were to describe the perfect pause from my present life.
But, if only a dream, there was a vital question
left unanswered...

Where did the gorgeous red and white roses
found near my bed come from?
These were the same roses I had felt
and smelled as I came upon the cottage,
the cottage I had found in The Deep Country!

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