The Cottage at the Woods


Into The GardenAudio:…/a-cottage-in-the-woods

I envision a large cottage on the side of the forest as Clara’s home.  With a large wrap around porch painted red.  There’s a few rocking chairs scattered on the porch to make it easy to catch an afternoon breeze.  Planters are filled with seasonal flowers, and small tables are settled among the chairs holding little treasures like a Garden Gnome, a bird house, citronella candles and lanterns.   Hanging baskets are filled with petunias, spilling over and growing so long they almost touch the railing below.  A pitcher of Sun Tea is brewing, while glasses of lemonade wait for the thirsty.  One of several cats stretches on the front porch lazily in a sunny patch, while another is curled up on the porch swing enjoying a quick nap.   A dried floral wreath hangs on the front door welcoming guests.  The walls are whitewashed stone, the shutters are a bright blue, and flower boxes are filled with herbs and more flowers.  The sound of music spills from inside the home.

Clara helps her mother keep a small vegetable garden.  It’s not much, but does provide a small harvest for the family.  A small brown rabbit can be often found nibbling on the newly sprouted veggies.  They’ve created a friendly scarecrow out of old clothes and stuffed with straw.  A Floppy hat sits atop his head, and Clara helped paint on a goofy grin that’s sure to make anyone laugh.  The crows like to sit on his shoulder, more thankful for a place to rest than being afraid of the garden guard.

Landscaped beds snuggle up along the sides of the home.  Depending on the season you’ll find anything from Daffodil to lavender to roses to sunflowers in bloom.  It’s a lush garden year round, and a world on its own filled with ladybugs and butterflies, worms and even a friendly Garden Snake Clara has named George.

A small creek runs along the very edge of the Garden and flows into the Forest just beyond.  Clara’s mother is forever warning her to steer clear of the creek when no one else is outside, but some days it’s too tempting for the curious girl.  In the spring, there’s tadpoles to capture in jars to watch grow into tiny frogs.  In summer, it’s the perfect place to splash around to cool off.  Clara like to hop from stone to stone to get to the other side, and investigate the moss and reeds that grow.

Some days the sun shines bright and strong, with crystal clear blue skies.  Some days the rain falls down, creating lots of puddles to splash in and watering the garden veggies and flowers.   In the Autumn there’s a scent of burning leaves and a crisp chill to the air.  And Winter brings the snow … and snowmen.  It doesn’t matter to Clara, she just wants to be outside taking advantage of the fresh air.

Meet Clara


Clara Sketch


I’m certainly no artist, but I tried to sketch out my main character on paper this morning.  To capture the vision I have in my head .. and of course it looks nothing like I envision Clara to be!  But it’s close … and perhaps that’s good enough for a start.  And an introduction to all of you.

Clara is somewhat of a tomboy, with a touch of Princess.  She loves to listen to Fairy Tales and stories of Magic, and it’s given her a very active imagination.  Her home is on the edge of a forest, and she uses that place as her backyard for adventures to worlds most adults will never see.

She has a mop of chestnut curly hair that sparkles in the sun with shimmering highlights of copper and bronze.  The curls have a mind of their own, and Clara’s mother has never been able to get control of them.  So cut chin length, the curls frame Clara’s face in all the right ways in a perfect mess.

Clara has a collection of outrageous and brightly colored converse shoes, mix-matched on some days, worn according to mood.  You’ll see her running around the garden in denim capris and a comfy tee most days, unless her mother forces her in to a dress for special occasions.  Never without a bag of necessary “tools” fitting her plans for the day.

Her laughter can be heard across the yard to the main house as she heads off on her latest voyage, a happy child.  She is at home in the midst of nature, and the animals and creatures she finds around her become best friends.  She’s smart, and has a lot of common sense.  But is often full of mischief that can land her in some sticky situations!

Today I picture Clara standing on the edge of the forest timidly looking in.  Peering through the trees at the Bluebells and Buttercups growing in the shadows of the trees.  They are what initially draw her in … curiosity becoming the best of her.  To pick a bunch of flowers to bring home to her mother.   And isn’t curiosity how most adventures begin?