Two weeks ago we went to the beach for a day while our former exchange student was visiting us during her college Spring Break. It was a beautiful, glorious day, remarkably refreshing in the midst of our Oregon March ‘lion’ weather. We walked along the ocean for miles and miles and then stopped for Mo’s clam chowder and then walked back by the road for miles and miles.
Along the way I spotted my perfect place, just the right spot for me to dwell. When I saw it, the words “out of the wind and the rain’s way” and “to come back to when we roam” came to my mind like a melody. So I have looked up the source of those words and found several charming passages that I’ll share. But first let me show you what I saw from the beach:
Oh, yes! my heart cried, That’s what I want!
It was a small house, old and modest, sheltered by trees and perched up on its own little knoll. In fact, it reminded me of that little house written about in Virginia Lee Burton’s story, the little house on a hill that the city grew up around and overpowered until it was moved back to a new happy hill in the country. This house at Cannon Beach seemed to have a hill all to itself, trees sheltering it from the wind and rain and an unobstructed view of the ocean for at least 180 degrees. Oh, to sit on that porch and pretend to read while watching the waves and beachcombers! To climb up the stairs and sleep at night under the steeply pitched roof! To be cozy there during the winter storms and then bring out my Adirondacks on such a day in March…
The cost of owning such a modest little knoll with a comfortable old house on it and unobstructed ocean views must be astronomical, not modest at all. I know that to get a front row seat like this adds hundreds of thousands onto the real estate price tag. But the direction of my thoughts was poetic, not financial. And if I were to be practical I would have to consider the costs of plumbing and electrical problems that come with old homes, and old roofs that need replacing because the wind blows the shingles off as the rain drips in. And old windows that seep cold air. And doors that get stuck in the damp and sloping floors on a sand foundation. But that is not where I was going with this.
Walking back by the road I saw the other side of the house which was partially, at least, log cabin construction.
An Old Woman of the Roads
O, to have a little house!
To own the hearth and stool and all!
The heaped up sods upon the fire,
The pile of turf against the wall!
To have a clock with weights and chains
And pendulum swinging up and down!
A dresser filled with shining delph,
Speckled and white and blue and brown!
I could be busy all the day
Clearing and sweeping hearth and floor,
And fixing on their shelf again
My white and blue and speckled store!
I could be quiet there at night
Beside the fire and by myself,
Sure of a bed and loth to leave
The ticking clock and the shining delph!
Och! but I'm weary of mist and dark,
And roads where there's never a house nor bush,
And tired I am of bog and road,
And the crying wind and the lonesome hush!
And I am praying to God on high,
And I am praying Him night and day,
For a little house—a house of my own—
Out of the wind's and the rain's way.
by Padraic Colum. (1881-1972, Irish)
Note the view of Haystack Rock and the beach:
The Little Home
by Edgar A. Guest
The little house is not too small
To shelter friends who come to call.
Though low the roof and small its space
It holds the Lord's abounding grace,
And every simple room may be
Endowed with happy memory.
The little house, severely plain,
A wealth of beauty may contain.
Within it those who dwell may find
High faith which makes for peace of mind,
And that sweet understanding which
Can make the poorest cottage rich.
The little house can hold all things
From which the soul's contentment springs.
'Tis not too small for love to grow,
For all the joys that mortals know,
For mirth and song and that delight
Which make the humblest dwelling bright.
A Prayer for a Little Home
by Florence Bone
God send us a little home
To come back to when we roam-
Low walls and fluted tiles,
Wide windows, a view for miles;
Red firelight and deep chairs;
Small white beds upstairs;
Great talks in little nooks;
Dim colors, row of books;
One picture on each wall;
Not many things at all.
God send us a little ground-
Tall trees standing round,
Homely flowers in brown sod,
Overhead, the stars, O God!
God bless, when winds blow,
Our home and all we know.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
I would be okay with this one, too, even though the knoll is missing!
A Little House
by Elizabeth Godley
In a great big wood in a great big tree,
there's the nicest little house that could possibly be.
There's a tiny little knocker on the tiny little door,
and a tiny little carpet on the tiny little floor.
There's a tiny little table, and a tiny little bed,
and a tiny little pillow for a tiny weeny head;
A tiny little blanket, and a tiny little sheet,
and a tiny water bottle (hot) for tiny little feet.
A tiny little eiderdown; a tiny little chair;
and a tiny little kettle for the owner (when he's there.)
In a tiny little larder there's a tiny thermos bottle
for a tiny little greedy man who knows the Woods Of Pottle
There's a tiny little peg for a tiny little hat
and a tiny little dog and a tiny little cat.
If you've got a little house and you keep it spic and span,
Perhaps there'll come to live in it a tiny little man
You may not ever see him, he is extremely shy;
But if you find a crumpled sheet -
Or pins upon the window seat -
Or see the marks of tiny feet -
You'll know the reason why.