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Rated: E · Prose · Contest Entry · #2235559
Setting Description of Arlynn's Family Cottage - her home away from home - her sanctuary
Camden Falls was a quaint little town. A small, lively little town with a strong artistic community. During cottage season it blossomed to include all those from the city who were looking for a place not too far from the maddening world, but still far enough to satisfy their need to get away for a weekend or a week or two.

Some of these people came for a good time and they were often careless and entitled. They left the tourist season with bad taste, but they infused the community with money and that made them tolerated. These people came on long weekends and through the summer months. Some even ventured up for a retreat at the posh resorts that had sprung up in the area. They came to golf in the summer, ski in the winter.

Some cottagers were regulars. They ventured up as soon as the snow cracked and began to melt. These were the people that came to be on the lake, but also came for the community. They took pride in owning a little piece of this heaven and they took good care of it. They were good nieghbours and had made many connections to the local community. This was their home away from home. They raised their families here and those families returned year after year because this place meant something to them.

Arlynn’s family was such a family.

Drawn to the natural beauty of the place, her family first came because it was a half way point between two sisters who wanted their families to spend some summer time together. What started as a regular summer rental, turned into a family purchase on the lake and years of work to make the place a year round get away.

Arlynn spent her summers lounging on giant rock faces that rose regally out of the earth. Rocks that basked in the sun and held moss within crevasses. Rocks rimmed lakes so cool and clear that the sky reflected a perfection found no place else. Running and jumping over the rocks was a fun pastime; as was leaping from the higher peaks and plummeting into the mirrored surface of the lake that seemed to stretch out forever.

At the edge of the rock, birch trees stood among sturdy evergreens. The forest seemed to swallow up the world. But there were pockets where people had carved out spaces to build rustic cottages and attached docks to the granite boulders that lined the lake’s edge.

If you gazed out over the lake you would see a few docks with unpretentious boats, holding lines and bobbing in the surf. Some even had a canoe tipped on it side as if waiting for someone to slip it into the water and glide across the smooth surface where serenity would find them. It was often hard to make out the cottages. You almost had to be at the dock before you could spot a cottage curled up among the dense vegetation. Some cottages had boathouses with a trail leading up under the tree line. Spots of colour burst out through the branches. People had a way of adding a bit of cheer to the little cottages and spotting them always brought a smile.

The Feninni / Douglas cottage was one of those. The wood frame was a vibrant red with turquoise trim. From the lake, you could barely see it perched up a good twenty feet. From the dock that stretched out about 15 feet into the water, you could see smatterings of colour and if you took the trail that curled up through the parred back bush you would come out at a flat surface that housed a fire pit encircled with oddly shapes rocks surrounded by Muskoka Chairs that had been painted to match the cottage - both its trim and the overall vibrancy.

The trail continued up and meandered, not so steeply, to a sturdy deck, that wound around the back and sides of the structure. All had been lovingly build by her uncle who owned his own construction company. He had built it so that there were views of the lake from both the kitchen and the living areas. The building was turned to take in the immense beauty of the area.

The cottage was not large like some of the stately places that dotted the lake, but it was homey and cozy with an open living room with a great fireplace built with rock from the area. The great room had a vaulted ceiling and large glass windows rose up on either side of the fireplace to let in all the light. At the far end of the cottage overlooking the lake itself was the kitchen area. A long wooden table held court before another large window so that you could drink your coffee and catch the morning sun rising up fresh and new as it burned off the misty haze of the night. You could also see the sun setting, painting colours unhindered by city smog.

Leading off the open living space was one versatile bathroom that had been rigged to meet the needs of everyone who stayed. It was somewhat off the gird. Still, it was better than venturing out into the surrounding bush to make your way to the outhouse. Nobody wanted to come face to face with a bear in the middle of the night.

There were also four bedrooms. Each had a view of the surrounding forest. There were two large ones, and two smaller, but equally comfortable rooms for the whole family. Over the bedrooms, there was a loft which had a sky light bubbled up to see the night sky. It also had a wonderful view of the lake and great room below it.

The most used entrance was on the side of the cottage closest to the driveway. Coming in, brought you into a small mud room where you could strip off boots, coats or bathing suits depending on the season, before moving into the kitchen area.

There was another door at the other end of the cottage, opposite the kitchen, but it was usually locked and rarely used.

Arlynn loved the place. It felt like a true home to her. Nestled in among the trees, perched on a pristine lake, she could believe she could do anything here. Be anything here.

Her favourite thing to do was take the canoe out over the lake. In the morning, mist still hung above the surface of the water and loons could be heard calling out to each other; hidden in the folds of obscurity. Floating on the surface of the lake, so calm, she could dream and feel her confidence being restored.

The city had maimed her, but here, she was able to heal and find her way back to herself.

Word Count = 1218.

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