Sippican Cottage

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A Man Who Has Nothing In Particular To Recommend Him Discusses All Sorts of Subjects at Random as Though He Knew Everything

It All Just Was (A Re-run)

Delightful to come to Truro. Never in high season. When the winter has pounded the sand as hard as concrete, and every footprint has been erased; that’s the time to come.

The light is nice in the early spring. The orb of the sun hangs low in the southern sky, even at noon, and reaches into the room and picks out the details in even the most mundane of objects. The owners have such a treasure trove of trash in here. There’s a weird vibe to a room filled with things that aren’t even good enough to throw away. They are like amulets, or sea glass. Like shims under the wobbly legs of someone else’s life. Like finding a totem in the wilderness from a dead religion. Trash too valuable to part with.

The first few times I stayed here, I’d pick up one awful thing after another and wonder: what could possibly make someone bring this into their home, never mind keep it through all these years? What power do these talismans hold for their owners? How can you build an altar of peeling paint and worship this god of kitsch?

I got over it. I’d hear the scree of the spring and the slap of the screen door behind me and wander the sand alone, and divide my hearing between the whistle of the wind, the sigh of the surf, and the shh shh of the dune grass reminding me I was in their nursery. There was no point to the things in the shack, or the lapping of the idiot ocean against the fool earth. In the pale moonlight it all went about its business whether I was awake or not. It all just was.

I’d call the people and tell them I wanted to stay in the cottage where it all just was, and they’d put their hand over the receiver for a moment and I knew they were using the word “daft” to their companion about that fellow that wanted to go where no one wanted to go in a season where no one went anyway. And then they’d come back and say they had checked and there looked to be a hole in the schedule. There’s a hole in Hiroshima, too, I’d think, but not say.

I’ve always liked the little stove. You sit right next to it, and feed it like a baby. You can put your hands right on it after you light a fire in it, and feel the power of the flames slowly mount to warm your hands. It gets too hot in an instant, like many things.

I love a stove. You can feed a stove almost anything on a cold morning. Kindling. Rags. A love letter.

2 Responses

  1. The old houses always catch me staring. We spent 4 days in St. Augustine, where my beloved had to gently tug me past them after I rooted to the sidewalk. My house is a tattered old Craftsman from 1926, much worn, with strange pointed moldings around doors and windows. Anti-mitred, I suppose. Thanks for the walking tour.

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