There are certain sounds that seem to be synonymous with all cottages. The sound of rain hitting the ground or water, the sound of a canoe paddle bumping gently against the side of the boat then the drops into the water as the paddle lifts back for the next stroke. The laughter of adults and children as they launch themselves off the dock into the water then the sputtering as they come up to call out how cold the water is. Cries of shock, as the dog decides to shake off on whomever is standing near by. There is the cool sound of ice clinking gently in a glass for afternoon cocktail hour, the hiss of the BBQ as the food hits the hot grill, and the crackle of the bonfire at night with the logs shifting and sparks flying. I wouldn’t be Canadian if I left out the slapping sound of the death of the mosquito.
I love all these sounds, they take me right back to when I was a child and summertime, however, there is one sound that I love above all, that instantly transports me back, and that’s the sound of the old screen door. You remember those old screen doors with the creaky hinges and springs, the latch at the top that clunks open and slams shut? For some reason the low sound just says cottage to me, it sounds lazy, like it really couldn’t care if the door stays shut or not, it’s summer and it has better things to do than hold a door.
Our cottage reno is too new to have one of these doors, however I’m trying to convince my husband to put one in. Not only will it give a good cross breeze on the hot days but I’ll get to have that latch at the top that makes that sound. Our neighbours have one and every time they come and go from the cottage I can hear it. It’s a soft sound, you have to know what your listening for, their hinges don’t squeak so it’s strictly the catch that you hear, the pure sound.
I realize that this sound gets lost in the every day noises of a cottage but in the quiet of the early morning or late at night I can hear the soft clunk and it’s a very reassuring, comforting sound. I’m not sure it would work the same way in the city, I believe it’s a combination of things that make this sound so unique to a cottage. The wood that surrounds the door frame has to be soft enough to allow the vibrations to pass through at a specific tone, the door itself has to be flimsy enough to rattle but hard enough to be caught to make the sharp clack as it hits the frame. The latch has to have enough spring in it to catch the door but not be too tight that it snaps to sharply. For some reason this combination seems to be perfected at the cottage.
As I lie in bed this morning the rain is falling gently outside, my cats are snoring quietly on the bed waiting for me to make a move so they can have breakfast. My neighbours aren’t using the little cottage this week, there won’t be someone in it until the weekend, I’m missing the clunk of the door, it’s reassuring comforting sound has been stilled for the time being.
For now, I guess, I’m going to have to make do with one of the other sounds that are soul soothing, however my heart (and ears) belongs to the screen door.
Dreaming big from the East Coast