Saturday, October 3, 2009

Awaiting Walden

Above: Walden Pond in Autumn

It was the kind of deal any writer in need of a little seclusion would jump at. The owners of the lake cabin didn't want it to sit empty through the winter, so they opened it to those in need of a get-away, a place to retreat from the daily. They sweetened the deal by not charging rent (though they would accept "sweat equity" or donations for upkeep). Since I am in the throes of a revision, I fired off an email. After a few mail volleys, I chose a five-day block from the available dates. It was a good thing I didn't immediately pack my laptop, because in one last message, Mrs. Cabinowner wrote that Mr. Cabinowner had advertised for someone to rent the cabin for six months.

Cliches become cliches because they often prove true. Such is the case with "If it sounds too good to be true, it is." At my age, one would think that I could have tempered my initial excitement, but no. I allowed myself to envision walking beside the lake, pen and Moleskine notebook in hand, furtively jotting down ideas that tumbled like dry leaves caught in a November wind. I imagined lounging beside the fireplace while my fingers flew over the keyboard of my laptop or sitting at the dining room table sipping Earl Grey, munching a bagel spread with cream cheese, and contemplating a difficult scene while watching the morning mist rise from the lakes mirror surface.

Can a person grieve the loss of something she never had? Perhaps the focus of my grief is not so much the loss of five days in a secluded lake cabin, but rather the disspation of the idea.

Dreams are, after all, ephemeral. Thank the Lord, they also proliferate quickly. While I wait for God's perfect timing, I'll crack open Walden and enjoy Thoreau's retreat vicariously.

NOTE TO MY FELLOW WRITERS: I invite you to comment about your favorite writing places.

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