September 21, 2013
in the dark, dark windows
Last week, I was in the Laurel Highlands and driving the wooded mountain roads, I passed many houses that could be second homes – cottages away from the urban hum. All these retreats were under tall pine trees in shaded glen and groves; some were perched on small rises with rolling meadows off their front porches. This bucolic landscape made me sad, made me want to drive back into town and away from its cloying disposition. I kept trying to understand the feelings, but no reasonable explanation came. My internal monologue went like this – I like the isolation of the Italian countryside, why am I reacting so negatively to this isolation? I love the browns and earth-tones of the fields that surround Earle-and-Suzanne’s, why are the greens of the Laurel Highlands depressing? The far horizons of church steeples and Medieval towers open the world to me, why do the enclosures created by the pine trees make me feel like I’m suffocating? Why did I never buy a cottage in the woods of Northern Ontario? (These houses, tucked into the shadows of the Laurel Highlands, look most like the camps one finds in Sault Ste Marie.) I obviously like the distance away from the madding crowd. Walking into the closed, dark house at Earle-and-Suzanne’s was always a relief. The dark was settling, refreshing. Then why is the dark that surrounds these Laurel homes oppressive?
The above image seems to capture all these feelings. It’s an empty house, surrounded by tall hemlocks, on a huge track of land.