My sister-in-law kindly gave me the little woodland sculpture that captures some of the whimsy of a forest home, even to suggesting a snail’s pace atop the stump. I’m not sure if she was aware of how apt a gift it was, whether I’d ever mentioned my childhood wishes to her.
When living with three sisters and a brother in a small farmhouse, one of my cherished dreams was to have a place of my very own, a “cabin in the woods.” Both time and space were rare commodities, and my imaginary world envisioned a place far away from the hectic pace of the world around me. Being a fantasy, of course, my rustic cabin would not have problems with bugs or mice, and I would happily live with only the barest of essentials.
I had never heard of Thoreau or his experiment in simple living on Walden Pond, but I understand that longing for solitude, and how he was weary of the artifices of society. I wanted the same kind of freedom to just be myself.
Well, I’ve grown up and we are living in the woods, but admittedly with far more conveniences and square footage than I would have had in a tiny cabin. The dream has not entirely disappeared, although I don’t know if I could manage cabin living in the wild without internet. There are logistical challenges that arise, for example, in lugging groceries through forest glades, and some thought would have to be given into bathroom amenities, which I’m sure wasn’t considered an interior necessity by actual pioneers.
In my solitary cabin in the woods
I’d need only some basic goods
A little desk, a place for a fire
Blessed silence is all I require.
The dappled sun, wind in the trees
Would gently waft the summer leaves
No rude interruption by anyone
To happily write till my work is done.
With the poet in blissful solitude
Taking the path less traveled through
To hear the birds’ symphonic choir
And seek a true wisdom to acquire.
But then, maybe this longing to come away, to simplify, is elemental, a yearning back to an original Eden. As we are increasingly technologized and civilized, it feels as if we’ve lost that connection, and we’re being called home by Nature herself.
Perhaps it’s not too late to build a cabin in the woods . . . . ? (This is getting my husband a little concerned!)