Every great retreat needs a name and a motto I think. The name of our little place on Prince Edward Island will be Whale Cottage. For some unknown reason the previous owners called it Ginger Lane Meadows -- eeewwww. And they had a flowery stencilled plaque with the name on it. Ick. It is long gone. One thing the previous owners did get right is putting this handsome whale weathervane on the top of a cupola on the cottage. Hence the new name: Whale Cottage.
Now, for a motto. Much of my inspiration for this place has come from the book Sailing Style by Tricia Foley with Jill Kirchner Simpson and photos by Michael Skott.
It's a wonderful book, and one of the things I love most about it is that it isn't just pretty pictures. The book is packed with interesting research and history on sailing traditions and lore and terminology (ever the history student, I am). One sidebar in the book quotes famous writers on the sea. This one knocked me over:
For whatever we lose(like a you or a me)
It's always ourselves we find in the sea.
At the risk of getting a bit personal, e.e. cummings is one of my guiding lights. His poetry has been by my side for so many important moments in my life. I couldn't remember off hand which poem the two lines were from, so I went to the Google machine right away. I found this utterly enchanting poem.
'maggie and milly and molly and may'
maggie and milly and molly and may went down to the beach(to play one day) and maggie discovered a shell that sang so sweetly she couldn't remember her troubles,and milly befriended a stranded star whose rays five languid fingers were; and molly was chased by a horrible thing which raced sideways while blowing bubbles:and may came home with a smooth round stone as small as a world and as large as alone. For whatever we lose(like a you or a me) its always ourselves we find in the sea e.e. cummings
Adore. The spirit of the verse reminds me of that feeling of utter relaxation mixed with elation you get when you walk on the beach near our place. The heartbeat slows, the shoulders relax. Deep breaths. "Maggie discovered a shell that sang so sweetly she couldn't remember her troubles." Aaaahh.
And so henceforth the Whale Cottage motto will be those last two lines. Whale Cottage will be a place to find what we have lost, like a you or a me. And finally, this sweet discovery:
(and one last funny story -- when my wee French bulldog Lulu came upon a crab on the beach, she peed on it...pretty sure it was already dead, so it didn't chase her.)