Holding out for Hardwood

Since having moved into a new apartment, I have found myself frequently scavenging for furniture on Craigslist, thrift stores and on garbage days in alley ways.  But I stumbled upon a portal the other day.  A basement time warp.  A transporter into another era.  An antique store.

But this was not just any old antique store (pun intended).  It was a basement warehouse packed to the gills with dusty trinkets and treasures from The Way Things Were.  Giant, wooden armoires tip-toe on graceful curved, carved feet.  Dove-tail joints and mirror-like varnishes garnish grain and groove.  Piles of coiling, spiraling wrought iron fixtures were stacked high into corners, awaiting both spit and polish, and a wing and a prayer.  A magical room full of old things with history embedded into its hand-chiseled crevices.  Things with heft that feel like longevity in your hands.

Wandering through the endless maze of aisles, boxes, Tiffany lamps, damask, crystal and gilded edges, I was left breathless by the incredible amount of craftsmanship these old things seemed to entail.  I couldn’t help but wonder:  What does my generation leave behind that speaks of posterity?  What of craftsmanship and beauty and built-to-last?  A dining room table made of solid walnut that wears the pockmarks from generations of exuberant dinner party guests, water rings from too many cups of hot tea shared over tears, laughter or conversation, the burn mark from the time when Auntie Thelma forgot to put a trivet under the Thanksgiving turkey in 1955.  What of the stories that each piece wears like layers on a cold Autumn day?

We live in a world that moves so fast.  Most people are always waiting and looking forward to the next version of the latest new IGadget, operating system, or updates that bounce up on my computer screen with clock-work consistency.  And certainly, you won’t be finding that MALM bookcase in any antique store in 100 years.  We spend an inordinate amount of time Face-hooked to our computer screens, watching the comings and goings of old friends, lovers and barely remembered acquaintances as they move through their lives into new girlfriends, babies, vacations, what they ate for lunch today and the incessant play-by-play details on the fantastic-ness of their lives.  We have allowed our lives to become reality TV shows and we infer our perspective of reality from status updates and friend requests, allowing this information to make you feel better or worse about the person you are in comparison to all the people out there doing “cooler” things than you.

And I’m not entirely sure how a social media website and an antique store have anything in common, but somehow they are linked in my mind.  Somehow it settles uneasy in my belly and speaks of misguided priorities and long-lost values.

I am in the Maritimes again, on a bit of a Maritime Moksha tour.  So while on Prince Edward Island for the first time in the fall, an old friend and I decided to go on an adventure.  We had heard about this Cabin in the Woods.  Apparently this cabin in the woods was a special place for the man who had owned it.  And when the man died, his family decided to leave the cabin open for anyone to use and enjoy.

If only you can find it.

Now, this just sounds like a formula for a bad horror movie:  two girls enter the woods for a fall forest walk, searching for the mysterious cabin in the woods, never to return.

But walk we did, for this is the type of friend with whom adventures are always to be had.  We wandered through an enchanted forest, spotted with Smurf-like clusters of wild mushrooms, over carpets of pine needles that sprung like sponge cake underneath your foot-fall, fireworks of fall colors provided a backdrop for quilts of lime-green moss that beckoned nap-time and momentary repose and at the end of the White River Trail (stay on the path close to the river) we found the Cabin in the Woods.  A simple log structure, with a hearth at its center.  A place with history and love and enjoyment for anyone wanting to be a part of its past.

I signed the logbook and felt some of the unease lift from my belly.

Because sometimes the things you leave for posterity are the things you leave behind.

And hopefully I can leave in my wake a little bit of beauty that is built-to-last.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Alana Sprague
    Oct 22, 2012 @ 12:37:03

    It was a magical day for sure Jen! I look forward to many more adventures in our future. xoxox


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