My grandparents' great legacy was the cottage. The definition of quaint, it was essentially a rectangle divided into four rooms, with no ceiling and walls that didn't reach to the roof. Everything revolved around this wonderful, immovable fireplace, which was placed right in the middle of the building. Sometime after they died, and the place was essentially abandoned I went back to see what was there and this was it. Hints of a bygone life; an empty woodbox, the unweathered rectangles on the wall that had been preserved by pictures of birds that had hung there for decades. Initially I meant this as a kind of eulogy to my grandparents, their absent presence. Looking over it now, I think it stands as much for a lost way of life. There was a time when the mystique of a cottage lay in the fact that it was a decidedly different way of life from the city or the suburb. Slower, more basic, closer to the earth. But nobody builds cottages anymore; what gets constructed are summer homes where the goal is to ensure that the only thing that changes from your "other" life is the scenery.
The right sound, the right smell can take me back there in an instant.