One of my favorite old movies is a little known film called “The Enchanted Cottage”.   It’s not available on DVD, so it’s just the luck of the draw if I ever get to see it.  It’s not very exciting and kind of old-fashioned, but it’s about a man disfigured in the war and a woman who is just NOT pretty.  The man meets the woman in a little house and when he steps inside he becomes handsome to her and she becomes beautiful to him.  The spell never wears off, even when they are outside the cottage, but everyone else sees them as they really are.  It’s a lovely little story.

My cottage, my current home, reminds me of that.  Not that I am more beautiful when I am inside, but just that it has this magical quality to it.  It’s not particularly outstanding.  It has high ceilings and white walls that, even after a year, I have yet to hang anything on – but that will come soon.  It gets quite cold because of misplaced heating vents.  But when I go inside it, I feel…like someone is holding me….like the cottage itself loves me.  I can stay comfortably cuddled up in there for days.  And at the same time, it feels like it is growing with me, evolving with me, helping me to heal.  Perhaps somehow helping me to see myself as beautiful, just as in the movie.  Helping me to see my real self.

All the little woodland creatures – the foxes, deer, birds, squirrels – that wander through my yard, by my windows, even on my small porch (deer tracks there this morning), add to this sort of fairytale quality that I feel there.   I’m some sort of Sleeping Beauty but I’m awake.  The rescued eagle next door calls out to me throughout the day, and sometimes into the night hours, complementing the howling of the coyotes and the all-too-rare lowing of the cows.

The red velvet couch is such an out-of-character piece – but that’s the thing, it’s NOT.  It’s actually me.  It’s just the me that I couldn’t ever express in my marriage.  (I read somewhere that when women leave their husbands and start feathering their own nests that they gravitate towards decorating with bright colors.) 

The bed is amazing – vast and comfortable, and the play of light through the curtains in the mornings is like waking up in a dream.

It’s not perfect, but what is?  It has its creaks and groans and the heater is remarkably loud.  And it has ghosts, though I have yet to determine if they belong to me or to the cottage.  That’s something I plan to investigate.  I can feel them at night, and occasionally hear them.  But I feel safe there. 

The little roof over the door is tin – I love to hear the rain falling on it in the summer.  Storms come up and blow by, the wind chimes measuring their ferocity.  Lilacs bloom by the split-rail fence in the spring and the big tree breathes its restless, delicate, sweet scent through the warm days until autumn.  Set far enough off the dead-end road that there’s usually no noise from traffic, the year-round cooing of the mourning doves puts me in an island mind, even while the snow sparkles like frozen diamonds on the ground.  I’ve never seen diamond snow anywhere but here.

Getting from the truck to the cottage some winter nights makes me feel like the opening scenes in Wuthering Heights, with the lonely, weary traveller stumbling towards refuge through the driving snow.  No path to follow, no light to guide my key, I could be in the Yukon for all it’s worth.  But on clear nights, the stars and moon light the ground to my door.  And some nights the moon lights up my bedroom like a lamp from another world, and I cannot sleep for bathing in its beams.

This is to be my place to bloom, to write, to come into my own, to feel my power, to cherish myself.  How wonderful.