Her Cottage

She lives in a one room, cozy cottage she built in the middle of a lush green forest. Her home sits in a grassy clearing, backed up to the base of a fern-covered cliff where in the Spring, sweet clean water trickles down to her waiting barrels. Tiny, baby blue flowers grow amongst the ferns on tender, too-thin stems of pale green. She is young, and happy, and full of hope.

One day a pebble dislodges from the very top of the cliff. It’s not much larger than her smallest finger. It tumbles as it falls, briefly touching its brothers along the way. Seeing the pebble’s joy, the brothers break free and join his race down the steep slope. Others join, larger friends, who bring larger friends. And soon they are singing a thunderous roar of glee as they race each other ever faster down.

She hears the song and runs out of her cabin, looking up to see them ripping through the ferns, plucking the flowers and consuming all in their bliss. She backs away, then trips. As she hits the ground, the avalanche hits her cabin, breaking it, burying it until all traces of her peaceful home are gone, the cliff itself wiped clean, all life scrubbed away.

The shock of the event washes over her, soaks through her, at first paralyzing her. She cannot move, she cannot speak out, she cannot event cry at what the rocks have done to her life.

But she knows she is strong and has the fortitude to rebuild what she has lost. With the determination of a champion, she begins to move the rocks. The smaller rocks she carries away easily enough. The larger stones are more challenging. She can only move them with tremendous effort, sometimes taking days to push a single stone from the clearing. She feels her strength ebbing, but keeps in motion, keeps visualizing the cabin as it once stood.

Then, when most of the rocks are gone, she finally comes to a boulder she cannot move. There are a handful remaining in the clearing of this size. And she knows all at once that she will never be able to move them.  

Anguish overcomes her. She wants to walk away from her life. She is so tired, so filthy from her work. And as the sun rises and the sun sets, she slowly forgets what her cottage looked like. All she sees are the boulders, all she remembers is their crushing weight.

But one morning, standing in the clearing, she sees something new. She sees a pattern to the boulders she hadn’t noticed before. She sees that she might use that boulder as part of a wall. Another boulder resembles a table. A third boulder could be used as well, as a place to sit in the sun. She begins to create a new cottage in her mind, incorporating those massive, destructive monsters into the design. 

She sets to work anew, her epiphany fueling her tired body. After many seasons and many mistakes, after nearly giving in to her exhaustion over and over, one morning she looks up and sees her cottage once again.

It is forever changed as is she. In some ways her home is strange, foreign, the oddly shaped boulders raising from the cottage walls like scars on the skin. In some ways it is stronger, more beautiful. But in all ways it is hers. She notices for the first time that morning that the ferns have returned and that, since it is Spring, the tiny blue flowers are in bloom and a clear stream is trickling down the cliff face. 

She sees the beauty in her life once again. She feels love and peace and hope. 

And she is whole.


  1. 8A414Mark68D8714/4/24 08:43



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