|Fure's Cabin, Katmai National Park, Alaska, submitted to Cabin Porn website by Sam Keam|
I find myself lying in bed fantasizing about living in a kind of capsule in the garden, with retractible roof and walls, that I can control at the press of a button. Inside the capsule is a comfortable bed, and chairs for friends and family to join me.
I'm not the only one with dreams of living in nature. There's a popular website called Cabin Porn and you can submit a photo of your quiet inspirational place. In The Atlantic recently Finn Arne Jorgensen wrote about this and what it means.
Basically Jorgensen is saying that the idea of the cabin is a fantasy representing an idealized past with all the things we feel we have lost: self'-reliance, using our bodies in honest labour, being close to nature, etc. Since for most people their cabins are a second home, the cabins are not a way of life. They are actually part of consumer society.
Norway is one place where the cabin idea possibly could have worked because there's a lot of land and a small population. But in reality government regulations and the desire for consumer comforts like water supply and electricity limited the freedom of cabin life. Isolated cabins without neighbours are reserved for very few. So there's a disjunction between the built reality and the romantic dream.
But there's still value in dreaming, Jorgensen believes, because dreaming about the past helps us work out the future.
I think Jorgensen was writing mainly about private cabins. For this post I have chosen photos of cabins in national parks, available to all who have the ability to access them. To me these are the most inspirational - owned by us all, and hopefully(!) respected and protected by all governments of the day.
P.S. I wrote the above after I'd been home from hospital for a few days. Then I got re-admitted - this time to a room without a view. So I consoled myself by dreaming about my garden capsule, and replaying the Cabin Porn website in my mind.
|Mt. Brown Hut in the Westland foothills of New Zealand (Source: remotehuts.co.nz)|