Writing is an Itch. This is a place to scratch.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

In the Glow of Cottage Lights

By ©Rattus Scribus, 30 July 2010.

Many of you know that Anita and I love the cottage. The cottage and its surroundings conjures in our spirits a peaceful existence in a pristine, undamaged nature and a magical community with all that is lovely in flora and fauna. In this world of the cottage there are tree lined paths that beckon adventure, the aromas of wild herbs waft through the air, fruits and vegetables have a flavor to be found in no modern food store chain, and fairies dance in moonlit gardens.

Inside the cottage, walls of books inhabit cozy rooms, animal friends visit frequently for food and fellowship, and love always outshines any evil in the wood.

Thus, in our many venturings, we are always on the lookout for anything that enhances the magic of the cottage. This summer we found lighting that had to be inspired by fairies, if not made by fairies themselves.

The first was a vintage bronze tree candelabra that was on a table of "discontinued" sale items. We both gasped simultaneously. "That's it!" Which to us meant, this is something we've dreamed about but never saw anywhere. We bought it immediately and took it to the cottage.

The second we found in an antique shop in Stillwater, Minnesota, one of our favorite local places to visit. It is a fairy lamp par excellence.

We fitted the candelabra with battery LED candles that light up automatically at dusk and shut off after six hours. We love the added sense of fairy magic when the candles light up on their own one by one. We wait for it each night.

I had to replace the electrical guts of the fairy lamp and fit it with a flame flicker bulb. When we turned it on, we went "Oooh!"

I know, I know. Maybe we are far too easily amused. Maybe we're still just too childlike. All I know is that everyone should be so fortunate. Anyone who can find magic and joy in so little a thing may have found one secret to a happy life.

In the glow of cottage lights, love always outshines any evil in the wood.

Friday, July 2, 2010


It happens to nations once torn apart by civil war. It happens to rock n' roll bands, high school friends, and to lovers. Reunions.

Emma Thompson and Hugh Grant as Elinor and Edward in the 1995 movie adaptation of Austen's classic.

The final coming together of Edward Ferrars and Elinor Dashwood in Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility (1811), is to me one of the great reunions in literature.

Reunions happen in many places around the world and sometimes they are glorious. It happened to Anita and me during our recent visit to California.

I see my family about every two years and it is always wonderful. But Anita and her family had not seen each other in fourteen years, so that meeting was like something approaching epic.

The visit was more amazing still because we were also reunited, as it were, with some people who have become dear to us, but until then we had only known them via web blogging and email correspondence. Below are some pictures with captions: a sort of travelogue of these most memorable reunions.
First, we flew to one part of California and had an indescribably happy reunion with my sister Nancy and her precious family. The up-till-all-hours fellowship and the fairy-like magic and hospitality of their home alone would have made the trip worthwhile (she is a home decorator par excellence; see her blog Fete et Fleur). My sister is very discreet concerning the information available on the internet about her family, so all I can say is that you brought a new level of joy to my heart. I love you ALL deeply. (And no, Anita and I are not standing in front of my sister's house. If only.)

A view from the Korbel Winery. Beautiful garden and history tour, followed by Champagne tasting.

Dinner at "The Claim Jumper" restaurant. Anita and I had never been to a place where the food was great and the portions were maniacal. That thing to the left of my brother's plate that looks like a small Bolivian village is actually a hamburger.

Southern California has some beautiful flora which never ceases to amaze me, like this Moreton Fig Tree that was planted in the city of old Orange in 1875. I had to walk across the street to capture something of its great size. It was so big that I did not notice the guy standing in the tree until he let out this blood curdling scream that made me literally jump in the air. The base lout was in the tree long before I got there and long after I left (I saw him there on the return trip), which reminds me of another thing about California that never ceases to amaze me: weirdness.

Anita and Penny, one our dearest blogger friends from Angelsdoor and a partner on the fun blog Nowhere. Our friendship moved from web to face-to-face. It was a marvelous reunion with a marvelous human being.

With Anita's very dear childhood friend, Edie.

Me on one of our regular morning walks in beautiful uptown Whittier.

The reunion with Anita's relatives and our mutual blogger friends. The party began at 10:00AM and everyone was having so much fun that it didn't break up until about 10:00PM, and it was supposed to be a "breakfast" event. This was an absolutely beautiful experience. I don't know how else to put.

Reunion of the Bloggers (sounds like a movie thriller). From left to right: the non-stop hilarious Debbie from From Venting to Viggo, Anita's dear cousin Marie from Dancing in Tattered Shoes, my Anita from Castles Crowns and Cottages, Bunny from I'm Just Sayin', and Yours truly. If you got a barrel full of monkeys, hit them with a massive dose of laughing gas and put them in the middle of a last comedian standing competition, they would not have had as much fun and laughter as we did that day.

Reunions happen in many places around the world and sometimes they are glorious.