I am greeted by a small glass vase, set in the center of a rustic kitchen table, holding purple veronica and rosemary, undoubtedly picked from the beds lining the kudzu covered front porch. My little Shih Tzu/Chihuahua mix runs ahead of me to inspect the new digs. A 65° breeze blows through the open windows, and birds can be heard chirping from all directions. This place is even more charming than the photos online promised.
Walls of shiplap and pine are covered in milk paint, and local art surrounds me. Weathered hardwood floors creak beneath me. There’s an antique, roll top writing desk in the corner of the bedroom. I do some rearranging of the furniture. The writing desk won’t get used in the bedroom. There was a time in my life – actually, for most of my life – that I was a borderline hoarder. I got help from a professional organizer. She taught me that bedrooms are for sleeping and sex. There should never be a place to work, such as a desk, in a bedroom, not to mention the desk is just too large for the space. So I move it into the living room, in a corner just below two framed photos of Black Masking Indians, and just to the left of a window that overlooks the bayou. I now have two places for writing: at the desk and on the back porch.
As lovely as the cottage is, the back porch is the jewel at the center of this crown, despite there being absolutely nothing extravagant or elegant about it. It is stunning in its simplicity and deference to nature – unfinished pine planks crawling with kudzu, with red Turk’s caps growing from the ground below and through the wooden slats of the railing, so that hummingbirds, monarchs, and bumblebees fly directly onto the porch to dine. The backyard is a modest swath of green with well placed patches of wildflowers, a hammock, a fire pit, and the Bayou Teche just ten yards from the porch. Its current moves quickly, but the shore is so covered in brush and various swamp trees, that the twinge of worry I feel about Tyrion (my dog) getting carried away and eaten by alligators dissipates. He is ultimately a city dog, getting up there in years, and simply won’t bother with any terrain that isn’t effortless to traipse through. There are two doors leading back inside the house – one into the bedroom and one into the living room. As I head back inside, I hear church bells, coming from a block away.
This little cottage, Les Deux Mondes, is exactly where I need to be.