“…the Cottage of content was better than the Palace of cold splendor, and that where love was, all was.”
~Charles Dickens, from David Copperfield (1850)
I purchased the entire works of Charles Dickens for $20 at the library sale near my cottage this weekend, and I am now falling madly in love with his writing and social commentary.
This quote in particular, from David Copperfield, resonates with me as someone who spends a good deal of time at our family cottage. It is one of the older cottages in the area, built with love and hard work by my father and mother 50 years ago. It’s not fancy, but it is where heaven comes in a cup of tea or a bowl of freshly picked berries. Where we fall asleep listening to sounds of loons and waves lapping on the rocks. Where the people we love come together in a place we love.
All around us, little cottages like ours (along with all the trees and native vegetation surrounding them) are being torn down and replaced by large, custom-built homes and imported plants. Ancient granite shorelines are being cemented over and replaced with elaborate docks, boat houses and car parks.
Our cottage sits back quietly from the shoreline, hidden amongst the trees and populated by friendly chipmunks, dragonflies, and wildflowers. It’s older now (it has what you’d call “character”), and needs more TLC every year. But we hang onto our little piece of heaven, preserving it for future generations. Like Dickens, we find the greatest content in our simple cottage, than in any palace of splendor.