By Jan Hudson Krueger
What does the cottage think about when we're gone?
When the piles of snow cover paths, roofs and decks,
When the songbirds have fled to the warmer climes
As have we,
Does the cabin miss us?
Do its windows glaze over in frosted sorrow
Or its rafters creak and cry as biting winds swirl about
Or the bricks in the chimney crumble a bit
In our absence?
Does it think we have abandoned it forever
As the pet dog surely does as we leave for work?
Or is the cottage imbued with a higher power,
A deeper understanding,
A timber-and-stone memory of ages and
Generations past and present?
Does it remember our returns each barely-there Spring
As the ice and snow fade
And the first loon calls from the bay?
Perhaps the pines and the oaks sing
Long winter songs for it,
And the docks warble from the shoreline below.
And the cottage reciprocates with stories of us,
Of our celebrations and calamities and
Frivolities and fun
Under the Summer sun
Maybe it sighs, thinking of quiet times when its people
Worked on a jigsaw puzzle or snuggled under dusty Throws on the ancient couch to
Disappear into a really good book,
Or when the ones who fish get their tackle together
And repair the lines and clean the reels
The cottage might ask the bedrooms to retell passages
From Treasure Island and Harry Potter,
As they were read to swim-worn children,
Drowsy and nodding off.
The grandmother-made quilts and
Striped flannel sheets
Recall tiny fingers and toes
Tucking in under their warmth
Maybe it remembers the more raucous times
With the UNO games and the Rumoli matches,
The meals and the melees and carryings-on
And it would mimic our shouts and laughter
That still echo off the knotty walls.
It might twitch and get itchy as the
Dust motes settle and gather on surfaces,
And yearn for the May day when we
Sweep in to sweep up, to vacuum and wash down,
To hang out the throw rugs and throw out the cobwebs
And wake it up again.
What does the cottage think of
While we're away?