Note: I’m on vacation (Fred’s holding down the fort) and will be back home at the end of the week. For the entirety of this week, I’m posting some of my favorite old posts to keep you entertained. I’ve included a few Noms pictures at the end of each post. Regular posts will resume next week!
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(Originally written on August 8, 2000.)
When I am very old, maybe forty-five years old, I will own a cottage on the coast of Maine. It will be a small cottage, maybe two or three small bedrooms, and on a large piece of land, miles from anyone else. I will decorate it the way I like, with pieces of driftwood and seashells scattered on the kitchen windowsill, and small plants in pots there too, to grow root bound in the sun, happy with their view of the ocean. I will hang long sheer white curtains in the windows, and they will twist and blow in the ocean breeze when I open the windows. I will always keep the windows wide open, even when it’s storming. There will be a simple path from the front door of my cottage to the water’s edge, because what use is it to have a cottage on the ocean when you have to struggle down a rocky, slippery slope to touch the water and play on the shell-scattered shore?
In my bedroom, I will have a queen-size bed, and a battered bed-side table, where I will pile my books and candles and whatever holds my interest at the moment. On the bed, I will put clean, crisp blue sheets, and blankets, and a comforter of light blue with fluffy white clouds. When Fred isn’t busy saving the world from itself, he will come live with me in our cottage on the ocean. He will complain about the silly comforter in our bedroom, and I will laugh at him and tell him to watch it or I’ll toss him in the ocean. He’ll pretend to pout, and I’ll push him down on the comforter with the silly white clouds and make him forget how silly they are.
We’ll go to sleep at night with the smell of the ocean blowing across our bodies, snug and warm under the sheets and blankets and blue comforter with clouds, our bodies intertwined so closely that it will be impossible to tell where I end and he begins. We’ll wake with the smell of the ocean on us, as the sun comes up, and we’ll race to the ocean and dive in, gasping at it’s frigidity. We’ll laugh at ourselves for once believing that the ocean off the coast of Florida, with it’s bath-water temperature and clear light-green color could ever compare to the untamed deep-blue wildness of the ocean off the coast of Maine.
After our swim, we’ll eat breakfast on the wraparound porch, watching boats sail by, and lobster men setting their traps. Sometimes we’ll go back to bed to spend the morning sleeping and making love, and other times we’ll spend the better part of the day walking along the water and picking up shells and driftwood, or clamming. I will have flowerbeds circling my cottage, and crushed clamshells will line them. The flowers there will grow wild and beautiful, and Fred will tease me, calling them weeds. But I won’t care, because weeds or not, they will be beautiful to me.
When Fred has to travel to save the world from itself – or rather, to show the world how to save itself from itself – I will soak a small towel in water from the ocean and let it dry in the sun all day. When he’s packing, I’ll slip the towel between his clothes, and he’ll come upon it in some far-off place and hold it to his face and smell the ocean scent and feel homesick for the cottage on the ocean.
I will have a small boat, a tiny little putt-putt boat, nothing fancy, nothing I’ll be able to sleep on or take on long trips, just a small boat to take me out on the water when I am feeling out of sorts and need the soothing, rocking motions of the sea. Sometimes I will take the boat far from shore and anchor to a buoy and just lay back and feel the boat move gently to and fro. I will doze in the sun and awaken slightly sunburned and hot, and I will dive into the ocean for a short swim. Then I will think about stealing a lobster from one of the lobster traps attached to the buoy, and then feel bad for even thinking of stealing from the hard-working lobster men. I will putt-putt back to shore and tie up the boat, and walk up the path to my front door, to be met by Miz Poo, who will be very old but healthy, and Mr. Fancypants, who will also be very old, and they both will have taken to living by the ocean with unexpected vigor. I will let them out to explore their territory, believing they will always return safely to me.
I will make friends with a crusty old lobsterman named Shane. Shane is not his real name, his real name is Bob or Bill, but I will always call him Shane. Shane will tell me his story in bits and pieces over several years. Shane grew up on the coast of Maine and worked all his childhood on his father’s lobster boat until he was old enough to be made a partner in his father’s business. He married the girl he fell in love with in second grade, and they made their home in a small fishing village on the coast far north of where he will live when I meet him. Shane never loved, and will never love, anyone but Anna, and for a long time, several years, his life was all he’d dreamed it would be, because not everyone dreams of a large life, not everyone can save the world. But, as Shane will tell me, the ocean is a jealous lover – and when he tells me this, I will first half-smile at the romance-novel sound of what he says, and then my half-smile will freeze and fade, and tears will form unexpectedly in my eyes, because the truth in that statement will make my heart ache. When Shane and Anna had been married for five years, the jealous ocean took not only Anna’s life, but the life of their unborn child.
Shane fled Maine and the ocean, running far, far inland, not stopping until he reached Montana. There, he changed his name and worked on various ranches for twenty-six years, never in all those years returning to Maine, never listening to the siren call of that ocean which thrummed in his veins. On his fifty-second birthday, he faced the fact that the ocean would never, could never, let him go, and he returned to Maine, settling as far south of the town he’d grown up in as he possibly could. He made his peace with the ocean, knowing that she could kill him as easily as allow him his peaceful life, and respecting – though not fearing – her for that.
Years later, I will meet him. We will slowly become friends, and I will beg, harass, and harangue him to let me go out lobstering with him. I will want to work alongside he and his two crewmen, pulling traps, baiting them, and setting them. He will finally agree, just to shut me up. He has no defense against me, the woman who always, always gets what she wants. Though the muscles in my arms and back will ache by the end of the day, I will grudgingly be told that I didn’t do a bad job "for a girl." Shane will pay me in lobsters.
Because some people only see black and white, people will assume that Shane and I are having an affair. He and I will only laugh at the notion, because the long nights we sit on the wraparound porch at my cottage on the ocean are filled with long silences, he thinking of Anna and I of Fred, away on his business trips. I will never conceive of loving anyone the way I love Fred, and Shane feels the same about Anna.
My parents, sister and brothers, nephews and children, and then grandchildren and great-grandchildren will visit me in my cottage on the ocean, and some of them will feel not quite at home there, but I will know simply by looking at others, that as sure as anything, the salt water of that jealous ocean runs in their veins. Some will be content to sit and look at the ocean, while others will have to run down to the water’s edge to taste, touch, and smell the water.
I will die quietly, at a very old age, perhaps in a chair on the porch of my cottage on the coast of Maine. And as my life fades from me, I will hear only the ocean and perhaps feel slightly sad that as much as I have loved the ocean, as much as her salt water runs in my veins, as much as my heart has leapt at the very thought of her, she has never loved me back.
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I love it when they look so serious. Like “No, really. You gonna give me a snuggle?”
Logie in the sun. As much as I had hoped she’d turn out to be something other than a black cat (not that I have a SINGLE thing against black cats, you know I think they’re awesome! They just tend to take forever to be adopted, which drives me nuts.), I think she’s going to be a black cat. We may need to hire someone to follow her around with a spotlight so everyone can admire her stripes.
2011: Dorothy would like to say “hi” to her adoring public.
2010: Miz Poo: “He’s not TOUCHING ME, is he? Do I HAVE to put up with this?”
2009: Oh, kitties. How you make us worry!
2008: No entry.
2007: It’s a Boogie on a leash.
2006: No entry.
2005: No entry.
I don’t think Logie will have any trouble getting her adorable little self adopted! Hey, who wouldn’t want their own personal miniature panther?
The last picture of Logie looks like her eyes are going to be gold/orange. As beautiful as I thought Logie was with blue eyes, the orange eyes in black cats are mesmerizing. The right person just needs to see her awesomeness, and will fall in love with her, just as we have.
I knew Logie would be black. My little Cordikin looked just like her as a kitten – gray stripes and all. Then she got frosted all over with white hairs and finally became solid black. I want so very, very badly to adopt Logie. How far a drive is it to where you are from NH, anyway?
Oh… 18ish hours? Maybe? 🙂
NH isn’t that far from Maine Robyn, maybe you could come visit and bring a certain kitten with you and make a pit stop.. *smirk*
What an utterly beautiful post, Robyn. I can’t tell you how deeply my emotions were stirred.
Robyn, that was beautiful in a lot of ways BUT.
You have read Stephen King or watched the weather reports for say, Bangor or Portland, in January right?
I love Stephen King’s writing, but it always amuses me how all of the weird $#it seems to happen in Maine! Then I realized he must have John Denver syndrome: I think he’s trying to scare people away from moving to Maine. 🙂
You should watch Haven (on SyFy)
talk about some crazy stuff 😉
yeah, I live through that every year.. it isn’t as bad as it sounds..
oh wait.. it is.. n/m
Robyn’s from Maine originally, IIANM.
Yeah, but you’d be amazed how much your blood can thin living in the south.
After living in Florida, I won’t go in the water until it’s 90 degrees. The water that is.
Amen, sister! I’m in Florida, too! 🙂
I see Fred isn’t the only writer in the family! That was beautiful – thank you for sharing it! How do you stand being that far away from the ocean now? I guess the same way I stand being away from the mountains…
And I give you credit for not going back now and editing the “when I am very old, maybe forty-five” line…;)
Robyn, that was absolutely hauntingly beautiful, what you wrote about Maine. I wasn’t born anywhere near the coast, nor have I ever lived near the ocean, but I think maybe I lived near salt water in a past life, because I always feel a yearning toward it.
I’ll bet any one of your readers would happily adopt Logie in a lickety-split moment, if our circumstances allowed!
I was killing some time the other day–our systems were down at work and they had to let us go early, and hubby and I carpool–and I went to PetSmart to look at the babies they had up for adoption. I also bought stuff. Too much stuff. Anyway, there was a beautiful 4-year-old solid white cat named Clara. At first, I thought she had one green eye and one blue, and then I read her bio and realized that the “blue” eye was clouded, giving her an odd appearance but not repellent in any way.
Clara was lounging when I first got there, but she saw me and started meowing through the glass. They tell you not to tap on the glass, but I fluttered my fingers at her. She kept meowing, and got up and walked over and BONKED her head against the glass. I wanted so bad to be allowed back to cuddle her. But somehow I don’t think Clara will have to wait long until she finds her furever home.
If you ever want that towel soaked in Maine Ocean water, I’m about a five minute walk to it as I type this 🙂
Oh, my, LOVE that post about Maine, ditto to the comments above about writing!
Awww, Logie…yes a spotlight should do wonders.
Thanks, as always!
The last time I went to Galveston Island, a place I’ve always loved (but even more so since hubby and I got married there), I picked up a little tchotchke to keep at my desk: a miniature bottle filled with “sand” and seashells, printed with the name “Galveston Island.”
Of course, it’s not really sand, and the whole thing was made in China anyway, but it’s my own little piece of the beach at work. 🙂
Miss Logie was born for a life in the spotlight anyway. Norman could use a little sister…
We moved away from Traverse City, MI last summer ((Google it for the breathtaking scenes, folks… gorgeous beaches… Sleeping Bear Dunes)) Before we left, I took some of my dog’s ashes to his favorite beach and brought some of his favorite beach downstate to Detroit with me. I never considered myself a huge beach or water type person, but I miss being able to see it everyday.
And now for the big news (and a request): My arm is healed, my company is gone, and I told my husband that I don’t care if he wants to or not… We are fostering. I have an empty room in my house (pretty much empty of everything but a couple of nightstands). Wood floors, huge windows, french doors that can close them off from the permanent population. I’m going to scout craigslist for a rug to cover the floors and we have an old cat tree in the basement that I’ll bring upstairs. What else do I need and what should I know before I start? I’ve had cats my whole life and yet I feel like I don’t know what I should be doing to get the room ready for them.
I’m doing the total unexpected (for me) and asking for kittens. You all know what a proponent I am for the seniors. They will always have a home with me, which is part of the problem. I fear they will be here longer than kittens and I will have a huge difficulty giving them up. Also, I don’t want to disturb the senior permanent population more than necessary and kittens can be locked away in a way that I wouldn’t want to do with older cats. A blog or a facebook page may be in the plans if this goes well. I’m thinking “Teeny Tiny Tabby Town” Let me know if you come up with something better!
Kelly, all I can say is:
1) I’m envious, and
2) You’d better blog it!
Bless you, Miss Kelly. And I’m looking forward to the Teeny Tiny Tabby Town blog! 🙂
I second that motion! AND I love the name!
Oh my goodness, you made me cry! That’s absolutely beautiful. 🙂
I was certain Logie would look like Smokey Joe, but alas no. I’m sure she’ll get adopted!
And your dream life has actually already come true, just with some changes!
Obviously, instead of the Maine Coast, you landed in the Alabama countryside. Sometimes the two areas get similar weather… although usually not at the same time!
– Instead of decorating your cottage the way you like, the cats have decorated it for you with fur and hairballs!
– Instead of threatening to throw Fred in the ocean, you can threaten to throw him in the pond!
– Similarly,instead of bathing in the ocean, you can bathe in the pond with the tadpoles, catfish and frogs!
– Instead of a small towel soaked in seawater, Fred has a cellphone so you can call him to rescue you from frogs or christmas trees or whatnot!
-Instead of a small boat, you have a large chicken coop!
-You still have Miz Poo, and instead of Mr. Fancypants, you have Spanky, Sugarbutt, Tommy, Newt, Maxi, Stinkerbelle, Kara, Joe Bob (my love), Elwood, Jake, Alice, George, Gracie and the most gorgeous cat in the world, Corbie! Oh, and Emmy and the Noms! And Rupert now!
– Instead of the fatal sea affecting those you care about, it’s tornadoes.
– Instead of Shane, you have Spanky, Miz Poo, Sugarbutt, Tommy, Newt, Maxi, Stinkerbelle, Kara, Joe Bob (my love), Elwood, Jake, Alice, George, Gracie and the most gorgeous cat in the world, Corbie! Oh, and Emmy and the Noms for now! And Rupert!
– And you have your family visit, I assume. As for all the lovemaking (blush), I’m sure you know all about that!
See, it all came true!!
I love this entry, Robyn. You feel the way about Maine that I do about Toronto. I would love to live there, being able to see Lake Ontario and the CN Tower out of my windows. I’d love to take walks through High Park, have my lunch on a little bench by City Hall, to shop in the Eaton Centre. Every time I’ve been there, it felt like “home” to me.
And as for Logie? What a beautiful, lovely cat! 🙂
45 is “very old”?! Say it ain’t so!
And if I were in a place* I could adopt Logie she would be gone so fast your head would spin.
*Being in Canada and already having four cats AND a husband who says “no more animals!” makes it difficult. *sigh*
Yeah…I must be very old then. Thanks Robyn! I guess on my next b-day (I’ll be 46), I’ll be ancient! 🙂
I remember this post. and how I miss the ocean, too!
How does it feel to be about 1.5 years away from “very old?” 🙂
I think I am lucky…I am a short bike ride away from the ocean and a 9 hour drive away from the Blueridge Parkway! 🙂
I grew up in suburban New York, not far from the ocean, but far away that I can’t say that I grew up “on the water”. But I never feel quite comfortable unless I’m _on_ the water. The first time I set foot in Maine, it felt like where I was supposed to be. The ocean is absolutely a ‘her’ and no, she’ll never love us back. I don’t live in Maine…yet…but I go back whenever I can (luckily it’s a car ride away and not a plane ride away!).
Frankly, if people are scared away from Maine, that’s fine with me because that will mean fewer people to deal with when I finally get to settle myself in 🙂
Such a lovely post. It sounds like an old-lady comment (at 41, I suppose I’m not that far away ;), but ‘lovely’, as in ‘in a manner full of love’ is what this piece of yours deserved.
I love this post, Robyn!
Beautiful lyric story that drew me in and provided a lovely escape. I second that Fred is not the only writer in the family. Do you long for Maine still or has Alabama stolen your heart as well?
Can I buy a cottage and be your neighbour in Maine? And if I’m bringing my boys we’ll have to stay till they cross over ‘cos getting them back into Oz can be soo drawn out (but not impossible). Nah, maybe I’ll come over once a year and stay for a month. and leave the boys at home in oz…:) lovely writing. look out, fred…