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Welcome to the
Cozy Cottage Chronicles!
Turn the clock to zero honey / I'll sell the stock we'll spend all the money
We're starting up a brand new day
Turn the clock to zero Mack / I'm begging her to take me back
I'm thinking in a brand new way
Turn the clock to zero boss / The river's wide we'll swim across
We're starting up a brand new day
—Sting, "Brand New Day"

sunrise
"Only the hardcore campers are here tonight," said the blonde woman at the campground registration office. 

Our new routine is this: On Friday at 5 p.m., I clock out of work, then, the next 45 minutes I rush around grabbing cozy socks, a flannel shirt, my toothbrush and contacts, and food for the next 24 hours. My husband makes sure the propane tank is filled, hitches our teardrop trailer to our vehicle, and by 5:45, we're on the road. We head due west, so most weeks we are treated to the sunset in the giant sky as we drive away from the city, away from the suburbs, away, away, away.

The state park employee is starting to recognize us as regulars—we're there nearly every weekend. Each week, her greeting gets a little warmer, a little more familiar. On this night it's chilly, enough for a jacket, maybe even a hat. When she categorizes us as "hardcore" campers, I can sense my husband feels a little proud. I know I do. 

By the time we arrive, it is always dark. He unhitches our trailer while I hold the flashlight. We start a fire almost immediately, to keep our hands warm. This week, I brought a jar of homemade butternut squash soup, deliciously fragrant and easy to heat in a saucepan on our little stove. By the time we are sitting by the fire, me wrapped in a blanket because I'm always cold, both of us with our hands wrapped around steaming mugs of tea, we both feel that lifting in our chest that we were waiting for. This is where all the stress and worry of the week is shed. When you're breathing in the cold evening air intermingled with wood smoke, it's impossible to even remember what seemed so troublesome just a few hours before.

"Camping is never not a good idea," my husband likes to say. I have to agree.

And because we arrive in the darkness, the next morning holds all the expectation and wonder of Christmas morning. I'm typically not a morning person, but these mornings at the campground, I can't wait to peer out the window, lifting the shade to reveal a glittery prize—a brand new day—bathed in sunlight. This week, the morning unveiled a light coating of frost on the picnic table and the tree branches. The golden sun makes the lake shimmer. Everything is so still and lucid. I'm reminded again that this is always here. Whether I open my eyes to see it or not, each day starts like this, with new light and new possibilities.

Before we finish breakfast, we've gone online to reserve next weekend's camping site. Camping is never not a good idea.


xoxo,
Carol

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Thank you for subscribing to my newsletter, "The Cozy Cottage Chronicles." I hope that over time I can send you love letters that reflect the incredible journey our family has experienced by downsizing to a much smaller house, the Cozy Cottage. Every day, I'm still looking to simplify our lives, reduce stress, eliminate debt, and leave space in our lives to enjoy the little things. I'd love to hear from you! Just hit "reply" and send me a note!

Thanks, as always, for reading.

xoxo,
Carol


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