about this blog



This blog tracks the ongoing changes of my garden, and the wildlife I try to attract to it. It's a nature blog. It contains my thoughts and musings about anything and everything to do with nature - gardening, book reviews, philosophy, travel, science, history, art, design, politics.
Catmint is my signature plant because it has all the qualities I value in a plant: resilience, beauty and the capacity to spread prolifically . Unfortunately it's not indigenous. If I was starting again I'd probably choose an indigenous plant.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

the value of dreaming

Fure's Cabin, Katmai National Park, Alaska, submitted to Cabin Porn website by Sam Keam
There's nothing quite like a real or imagined brush with mortality to focus the mind on the essentials of lilfe. I always have a yearning to be closer to nature. Usually gardening helps this a little bit. In hospital taking pictures of the sky helped. Now I'm home but for the time being I can't garden. I can't even be in the garden much.

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)



11 comments:

  1. Catmint, your capsule is definitely a place for dreaming big, good and sweet dreams! Glad to know that you are so positive in spite of your situation. Get well soon!

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  2. I hope you are well again soon. I have just been completely distracted from my housework by the cabin porn site :-)
    I think my favourite was the one that is obviously completely self sufficient with a vegetable garden around it.

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  3. So sorry to hear that you are back in hospital Catmint, do hope that you improve soon and can come back to your garden. Its wonderful that you are staying positive and able to imagine your perfect cabin. You have made me think about all the holidays that we have spent in log cabins and they have been some of the happiest times that we, as a family have spent together, fantastic for a holiday, but all the time, I'm not so sure?! I'm sure though that eventually we can get used to anything and if it was in the right spot, it would then be perfect!

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  4. I confess, I often try to imagine a life of solitary seclusion in a comfy cottage far away from city life. Alas, in reality I would miss my family too much, but surely daydreaming is a form of escape, like immersing oneself in a good book. Your writing is always so thought provoking. Thank you for sharing and best wishes for a speedy recovery.

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  5. Get well soon Catmint. Keep those visions of the cabin by the sea and your garden in your head and you'll be well in no time.

    P.S. You didn't do anything wrong on the comments. I have them moderated after one day. I did publish your comments. Just wanted to let you know I have my blog set up that way so it was not you. Get well soon.

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  6. I shall check out that Cabin Porn for sure. We have talked about living in a cabin on a lake some day. Maybe in our retirement years. Our neighbors just dropped off their dog to stay with us the next few days. They are going into the hills of Tennessee and hiking up the mountain 6 miles to a remote cabin. No running water, Electric or anything. Very primitive. They should have a fun adventure.

    I hope you recover soon and are back into your garden playing...

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  7. May the virtual gardens we share bring you quickly back into your own garden! I much prefer my cabin in the midst of nature to be virtual. Creature comforts are much appreciated by this creature. Here's wishing you either have a view, or better yet are home again.

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  8. Catmint, I hope it all comes together for you quickly, and I hope you're able to feel untroubled.
    This site you've alerted us to is amazing, just what the doctor ordered! Thankyou.

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  9. Oh Catmint, I hope you're feeling better and heal quickly. Sometimes these things happen and make us realize how much we miss our daily routines:) I'm glad you have this place to escape and share your thoughts. This post got me thinking....my perfect place is a cabin in the rain forest with open air. I love being in places like this but I could do without the humidity:) Even when it's hot, humid and miserable at the time of the visit, I still leave the place with strong fond memories. And it's perfection.....I forget the mosquito, spider, and ant bites and romanticize the experience. It's interesting how we have the ability to forget the bad things and remember the good.:) Feel better. I'm sending good thoughts your way. Chris

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  10. I hope you recover soon. I often retreat to the garden to make myself feel better. I certainly hope you feel better. Will be lusting after cabin porn. Interesting thoughts on why isolated cabins are so appealing.

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  11. thank you, dear cyberfriends, for all your good wishes. I not there yet, but slowly getting 'there' ... as long as 'there' doesn't shift too much when I arrive!
    cheers, catmint

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I love to get feedback and comments, and getting to know other bloggers. I also appreciate corrections if you detect an error, because I'm not an expert, but a self taught enthusiastic amateur on a steep learning curve.

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