Space and Perspective

Elizabeth and Emma are at Walden tonight. They called me from my couch. They’d only been in the place for an hour and they’d already found everything, like the Music for Small Rooms CD, the little pop-up snake toy in the kitchen, the concrete Buddha reclining in the roots of an old maple below the bridge by the spring.

It’s wonderful to share such a personal space with friends — especially when they are so obviously pleased. (Aaron, I know you’re reading this). That little piece of land in PEI is tightly woven with stories. Every tree has a history, the spring that bubbles up from the ground at the top of the hill still contains a half-bottle of wine from 1995, and stuff in the cabin all has its place.

I keep a writing desk at the cabin, the kind with the front that drops down to form the writing surface. There’s a set of hand cuffs tucked in there (wedding night), some unused watercolours, a deck of playing cards, and a squishy brain toy from a drug company. One of our guests wrote “Die, Big Pharma!” on the bottom.

What I like about the desk is how it stays the same. It’s pretty much as it was when I put it there in 1996. I wrote a ten year plan that year, at the desk — “Things I want to achieve by 2006,” or something like that. There was no power in the cabin then – just the candle chandelier that still swings from the loft. This spring I revisited my lofty goals. They’re all met. More than that. And I thought I was being ambitious. So I figured it was time for a new plan. Last month when Jasper and I were at Walden I got him settled in bed and sat at my desk with a candle, a glass of wine, and a blank sheet. Nothing. I just couldn’t think of anything to define the next decade!

On the one hand I fear the jinx in this. If things are going so well, it must mean I’m headed for an early grave or something. Or, it could mean that I’m learning to live in the moment. And if the cabin taught me this, that’s all I really need. Maybe next time I sit there I’ll try the watercolours.

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