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

You Could Make Your Own Shed, You Know

You can covet the shed we had yesterday, and you do, as I did, it seems. It shows the hand of nature has been on it. It’s infused with the hand of nature. Sunbeams are captured in leaves and water is wicked from the soil and a creature fashions the remainder into an artifact for the other creatures, and the mower.

But you need only bravery, and time, to make it instead of inherit it. It takes a sort of bravery to acknowledge that everything in this life has a trajectory, and allow that trajectory to be followed. You can tend to a building, but you can’t make it immortal. A structure that requires no maintenance allows no maintenance and so is not “green,” a term I don’t use because it signifies nothing to me. It is disposable, in the only true sense of the word –brand new, until you throw it away.

If you shoot poison in your face you are not young. Who are you fooling? Do you have the nerve to allow the wrinkles to show? Did you have the temerity to use your youth when you had it, and so not attempt to counterfeit it when it is gone, to try to one more time to recapture the reckless courage you squandered? And would squander again, no doubt?

Put that useful thing out in the landscape. You’ll go there to fetch the rake, and be presented with other, more pleasant things, unwonted. The genie is blind and deaf, so your wishes are worthless. But he is still powerful in his caprice, and conjures many wonders. It’s as if you were dragging a millstone to the Registry of Motor Vehicles, and were kidnapped partway there and given cotton candy to carry at party instead.

You forgot your rake.

10 Responses

  1. That shed would fill up half my back yard. OK, a third. But it is pretty much the kind of shed I would want, if I had room for one. I’m tired of vinyl and plastic.

  2. Ever see the Japanese farmhouse prefab kits?

    Very sweet.

    And a home could be, to borrow an internet concept, a series of small sheds loosely joined together.

  3. Gerard, you’re making me laugh. A story in the vast anthology that my parents bought when I was young was about a largish family in a very small house. So they built an addition. And another one. And another one. Finally they needed a railway line to get from one end to the other. They got fed up and demolished all but the original. And then one day, the mother says, “If we only had one more room to…”

    It was, of course, totally ridiculous and a lot of fun.

  4. As Gerard says, the shed is a concept.

    In Maine, there is the the “Little house, big house, back house, barn. In Mass, there’s the accretion method of the cape. Grows like coral.

    Joan, those are marvelous.

    “Sippican Cottage” was originally thought of as a small outbuilding concept like that. I just started making furniture instead.

  5. Golden west: It’s a sorta bog. It’s dry nine months of the year. That’s what you see if you walk behind the shed in the spring.

    Ruth Anne: Mr. Ed doors! Thus they shall be called, forevermore.

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