Cottage 2019

Every year my family goes to the same cottage,

And every year I take many, many photos.

They are essentially the same photos, year after year.

Same place, same people.

But I love each year’s photos in a separate way.

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Sometimes I wonder why we have chosen this-

going to the same cottage for 20+ years.

Are we not depriving ourselves of new and beautiful things?

Maybe,

But also,

We get around in other ways at other times.

And there is a benefit to going back to the same place,

I think (speaking from the perspective of desiring a relaxing vacation).

You know what to expect.

What to look forward to.

What it will smell like.

You know that outside is never far away at the cottage.

(It’s even in your bed by the end of the week- hello, sandy sheets.)

You know generally what your daily schedule will be like-

Go to the water early-ish in the morning to sit or write,

Go to the water mid-day to swim and read in the sun,

Go to the water in the evening to walk the beach, skip stones, climb on the big rock, and watch the sun set.

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You know that on Thursday,

Everyone will debate about whether or not to go to the flea market,

Even though we already know that of course we’re going. We always do. 

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You know what will be the same, and that is comfortable.

But you also notice the differences-

the new deck chairs,

the higher water level,

the new cottages that are being built down the road.

We and the cottage are always different versions of ourselves than we were the summer before.

The things we’ve learned and seen.

The things we’ve loved and been hurt by.

The things we’ve hoped for and the the things we’ve been afraid of.

These things shift, from year to year.

We just pack it all up, squash it into our cars and our vans,

And take it with us to the cottage,

where there aren’t really hiding places to tuck it away.

There is, however, plenty of space for airing things out

by the water

around the table

and on quirky couches.

It’s never perfect,

And sometimes things hurt,

Like walking over a few feet of rocks to get into deeper water

Or realizing that you still have the tendency to eat when you aren’t even hungry

Or that you are actually still selfish,

even though you had decided ahead of time not to be. Gah. 

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If you look at this picture the right way, it looks like Ricky is running underwater. Can you see it? I love it. 

It’s always hard to leave,

And as we get closer to home,

there’s more traffic and concrete.

But somehow, I feel more ready for the fall- even when I don’t know what it holds for me. I feel braver, and like the possibility is beautiful, and I feel like there are many impossibly beautiful things that I might get to be a part of in this life.

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We visited the Tiny Marsh. There were many bullrushes and mosquitoes. 

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Do you know what I see when I look at this picture? I see autumn. Right there in the trees. It’s lovely. 
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I think this might be my favourite of all the pictures I took this week. Grey and gold- isn’t that just the way life is? 

 

What about you? Do you prefer vacationing in new places or in familiar places? 

 

Notes from the Cottage 2018

At the cottage, you can’t worry about wet dresses and frizzy hair.

You can’t even worry about that strip of your leg that you apparently completely missed while shaving. (How does that always happen?)

You can’t feel worried about moving or new jobs. (You may think about these things, but not in an obsessive, anxious way.)

It is not resting to worry about these things.

At the cottage, you can sit with your toes just-so in the waves and notice how the water brings plain old ordinary rocks to life and think about Jesus and Living Water.

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Photo credit: Ricky Martin

At the cottage, you can go down to the beach early in the morning and feel envious of the nearly seamless transition from the rocks to the water. I handle transition a little bit more… choppily. But then again, water usually does too.

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At the cottage, you can watch the blue jays, chipmunks, squirrels, and bunnies.

And if you happen to get sick, and spend the better part of three of your precious cottage days on the couch, well- I guess that’s just the way it is that year, and at least you have such a lovely family who take your turns doing dishes and go to Walmart to buy you apples and billions of probiotics and write you nice notes and draw you wonderful pictures.

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Not all of life is brilliantly beautiful, and that’s okay. Calm and ordinary can be beautiful too.

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The Dance

You might already know this, but my husband Ricky makes videos.

They are funny, warm, comfortable, and entertaining for all ages (seriously, even five-year-olds like them!)

He recently made a video about my family’s vacation at a beloved mint-green cottage. We have history with that cottage. We love it, and it’s the kind of place that seems to love us back.

Here is the video. You don’t have to watch the whole thing. But I would like if you would watch three seconds of it. You should watch from 5:28-5:31 (approximately).

Did you see it? Did you see that dancing cloud that swirled across the right corner of the sky during the time lapse?

I happened to notice it one time and it stuck with me.

About a week after we came home from the cottage, Ricky and I went for a bike ride. It was a glorious evening, with beautiful clouds as the sun set.

One cloud in particular caught my eye and I thought, “I wonder if that cloud is dancing?” It seemed like the sort of cloud that would be, although it didn’t appear to be moving.

Some dances we don’t recognize as dances, I guess. Our perspective is all wrong. Too slow. Too small.

What else around me is dancing?

It seems like the whole earth is dancing with the Grandest Dance Partner of All.

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Perhaps I might be dancing too?

Slow and untrained and not always graceful?

I am beyond excited for the Time and Place when we are shown that our faltering steps had more beauty than we understood,

Because of The One Who Is Before Us.

The One Who Holds All Things Together.

Amen.