I can’t, of course, say for sure, but I believe I am the only person in the history of the world that bought a house because it had an old ship in the back yard. It was September 2009 — oh, a chill went down my spine as I typed that because I just realized that it was this time of year that I first fell in love with the place that would finally be my Dragonfly Cottage, the real one, the one I had been searching for for 15 years. It had been a philosophy, a way of life, a deep dream, and every place I lived from April of 1999 until February 2010 I called Dragonfly Cottage, but these dear places were always more a state of mind, a foreshadowing, the shape of things to come.
I have to pause here for a minute to say that I am reeling a bit realizing that I found the house in September 2009 and fell in love with it because of the ship which was a ruin. When I bought the place in January 2010 it was peeling, grey, pitiful, and had an old child’s yellow slide falling off the side. I had it power washed and repaired, then painted 3 glorious colors — bright orange, candy pink, and orchid — and the slide was removed and the staircase built. Such a solid ship it was that we have climbed up and stood on her deck countless times, looking over the gardens and to the cottage off the bow, and from the high deck we looked back through the woods to our creek. The pugs and I that is, and a few family members and dear friends. And what is most poignant of all is that some unnamed father built this ship for his children. I know this because if you were to go around the left of the ship to the back there is a small, child-sized door that opens into a little cabin with little berths, a table and chairs, a whole playhouse. I think of the children who once played joyfully in the belly of this majestic ship. Amazingly life-sized and while cut a little short in the back finished off beautifully with a rudder and all.
It is all a sad dream now, and tears are running down my cheeks as I write this. Did I have to lose my ship too? The fire was bad enough but the week after the fire when the pugs and I were holed up in the hotel we would be in for a month there was another ice storm and it sent a tree hurling into the side of my beloved ship. When I found out it nearly killed me. The losses just kept piling up, and this one cut especially deep.
I was informed about the damage some time after the fire, that a tree had fallen into it during the second ice storm, but I had no idea how bad it was. No one had noticed, so busy were they with dealing with the burned down house. They did demolition all the way through the inside of the house, even through the one car attached garage, and the only reason that they could rebuild was because it was a brick house on a concrete slab. Everything else was gone, the roof had to be torn off and a whole new roof put on. All new windows. All new everything. The first time I saw it all there were only a few charred studs inside. It was such a terrible shock I felt like I had been shot looking at it for the first time. I doubled over and felt sick and as though I would fall to my knees. The aftermath of a bad fire is a terrible thing. I have never been hit so hard by anything in my life.
Finally the guys who who have a little landscaping company came and cleaned up the yard and got the tree out of the ship. I knew they had but it was still another 2+ months before I got out there and looked at it. It just took my breath away. Like the iceberg hitting the Titantic the tree did irreparable damage and she is sinking. The mermaid fell to her death, having sat proudly on the bow of the ship in Mermaid Cove, watching out over the magical gardens that someone once said looked like a Dr. Seuss book, but the ship was the Grand Dame of the place and I can’t imagine life there without her, but I must, for she is coming down.
The damage is too bad. I don’t have the money to repair her and it would be a huge job. It isn’t just the side of the ship, the deck was crushed and that would mean rebuilding the whole front of the ship. And I’m told that it is now rotting inside. My heart sank. So many losses, just so many. And there is a large creek on my property the other side of the fenced yard and that would mean that the ship could fill up with rats, snakes, or other vermin, and this is in our yard, the pugs play there and I garden all around and we can’t have the ship there falling down and becoming a hazard. The only thing that even helps me with this is the knowledge that my precious pugs could be at risk and that just won’t happen.
I had planned to write more, much more, I had planned to write about how this happening on the eve of us returning home makes the move back even more painful, but I don’t have the energy to go there tonight. I love my Magic Ship deeply and with my whole heart. She represents the magic that I long for in my life and never really had until I met her. The fire was filled with death in so many ways. The death of a dream, the death of all that I had hoped and planned and worked toward. The beginning of the dissolution of my animal family. It began with the parrots way before the pugs.
In the past few days my best friend, Jeff, had arranged to get me a beautiful baby macaw that I could handfeed and raise and I wanted it so badly that I am choked up writing about it now, oh I wanted that baby. He said he thought it would help me bridge the gap between the life that was so dear to me and was lost and the unfamiliar life I am about to re-enter. But as badly as I want that baby, as badly as I want to raise and kiss and love and feed and cherish that baby I simply cannot take the wee one in because I am 60 years old and any baby I raise today will outlive me. A macaw could live for 60 or 70 years. I will not. And when I raise a baby I put my whole life in there with its life. We fall in love, passionately. And that baby would grieve my passing, maybe even unto starving itself to death out of grief. I will not do that to a precious baby. I will not. I may hurt, I may ache, I may feel lonely and scared, but I can deal with that. I will not put that on a precious innocent animal that did not choose it.
What I would love most of all is to adopt another pug or two. Seniors, like my sweet Sammy who recently passed, because people don’t want seniors they want young dogs. But I love the older ones, the disabled, the ones with issues that don’t make them easily adoptable, but at the same time I have had this nightmare year I have come to the place where I had to apply for disability and I don’t know how I am going to be able to afford life at all and vet bills for 3 pugs can get pretty scary but my babies always have the best of everything, I would give up food for myself to feed my babies but I can’t afford to take more on right now and that hurts because so very many need homes and I would love to adopt. Oh, how this hurts my heart. If I knew I could cover vet bills I would go ahead, but I don’t yet know how I will manage my own life. I trust that all will be well but there is no clear path to well-being that has revealed itself yet.
Finally, I have one last thing to share, I started to earlier but I got sidetracked. I am going to write this down here because I really want to understand and I believe that someone reading this, maybe a number of people, will have insights. These things are, to me, deeply significant, but I am not in a very good place to put my energy into trying to figure it out, and yet, I think if I understood maybe it would help me move forward.
If the answer is in the stars, with the angels, in numerology, psychology, or parapsychology and you have an idea what it means — and please, no random guessing here, I can’t bear that, I mean people out there who are experienced and for whom, perhaps, there was a lightning bolt realization when you read this, if you have any insights for me please comment below. It would mean the world to me. I will type it out and then close because my heart is sagging and I am weary just now. It has taken me days to write this much. Let me, first, take a deep breath ….
I found this house in September 2009 and while it was a sweet little older home it was the unbelievable ship in the back of the back yard that took my breath away. Instantly it was my Magic Ship and it was restored and became the focal point of a large garden with a series of little buildings and gated gardens painted to match it. The Dragonfly Cottage Magic Ship Garden it was, and thousands of people have fallen in love with it, just as I did.
Sept. 2009. Met the ship, Fell in love. Bought the place a few months later because of the ship.
September 2o14 I move back in after a devastating fire in Feb. But Sept. 2014, just before I move back in, the Magic Ship will be demolished and sink into the sands of time and disappear from my life.
September the ship arrives, September the ship leaves.
Finally, I found my beloved Dragonfly Cottage and moved in in the first days of February, 2010.
February 5, 2014 the cottage burned to the ground and it was the beginning of year of unimaginable losses, one after the other, like Jacob’s ladder, falling falling falling falling…. and now I go home with 4 of my beloved parrots lost in the fire, my sweet Sam passing just 3 weeks ago, any security I might have had vanishing in the wind, and the death of my beloved Magic Ship before I can even return home… and so much more, so much that I don’t have the emotional energy to write.
What does it mean?