Literary Cottage Log 1: This is the Dream

Literary Cottage Industry

Oct 20 2020

Gold Tape
Chronicling a dream-in-progress. This is part one.

Dear Reader,

The mountains were too tall. This wasn’t a problem I anticipated.

The three of us – Steve, Snug, and I – made a decision. We’re moving to the woods. We don’t know which ones, yet, so we’re going on Adventure Research Trips to find out. Something called me to Glencoe, mainly the mountains, the tallest mountains in the UK. It felt like a significant place to start; I am a Lady of Glencoe after all, my Paper Anniversary gift from Steve.

I’ve taken on a daunting challenge: to enjoy the moving process.

I’ve moved many times, and it’s always been stressful. But I’m pretty sure it doesn’t have to be. With excitement, we landed on a term we both love, borrowed from Wendell Berry: Literary Cottage Industry. Steve asked, ‘So should we…make a list of what we’re looking for?’. Our enthusiasm dropped down a notch with this suggestion, which came from a place of how one ought to do things. We chose a different route: Adventure Research Trips. We would travel about Scotland, gathering clues for our literary cottage treasure hunt, leading us to the next location. We’re exploring the Highlands with purpose, slowly feeling out where we want to try next. With each journey we gather details of this mutual dream.

My first thought was Glencoe, we must get to Glencoe.

On our drive there, we passed through Callander. First I saw the name on a road sign and felt an affinity for the place. Of course I would be drawn to a place called Callander. How structured and organised! A woodland in the hills. Noted. We could try here next.

A few hours later, Lindsay Stirling played on CD just in time for our arrival in Glencoe. Immersed in a thick fog, the ominous mountains towered over us. Whoa epic. But also empty. It didn’t feel quite right. I couldn’t picture where we’d put the cottage.

We pitched our tent, and the next morning, discussed details on our walk up the Pap of Glencoe: what felt right, what we’d learned by being here. I needed to experience the tallest mountains to realise that we don’t need to break records to feel at home.

‘What else is your dream?’ I asked, taking mental notes. Things like climate and types of trees and proximity to major roads.

This is the dream,’ said Steve. 

This family walk up the hill, this long-term ramble through Scotland, is the dream. Our wanders will take as long as we like. There’s no hurry to discover where we want to end up, and no hurry to get there. I wished and wondered, can the journey be the dream? So far, it is. Amazing.

Until the Next Chapter,

Xandra

P.S. One more magical thing – just before Callander, Steve saw a sign for Doune. ‘Doune? The Monty Python Castle? That’s on my list of places I have to see before we ever leave Scotland!’ He veered the car down the side road, and into the carpark. There was King Arthur, in my imagination, inviting us to join his quest for the Holy Grail. But we don’t need a new quest. We’ve already got one. It’s very nice.

P.P.S. Next Up: Callander.

 

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