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A Little Happier: A Beautiful Image—A Cabin in the Woods, with Flowers Growing Close to Its Walls


I read something recently that has really stuck with me, that put an image in my mind that I find great pleasure in reflecting on, although it doesn’t have much point.

In his interesting book Walking One Step at a Time (AmazonBookshop), Erling Kagge recounts how for twelve years, the Norwegian philosopher Arne Naess lived in a remote cabin in the mountains.

Any time he had visitors, Naess insisted that people take a different path to the cabin, so that no one single path would lead to his door. And as people approached the cabin, within a circumference of seven feet, they had to step only on the rocks that were there, so that the cabin would be in the middle of nature, with heather, glacier buttercups, and alpine dryad growing. By changing the path and by using the rocks, Arne Naess was able to observe the living, undisturbed vegetation from his window. After he moved out of the cabin, people always chose the most convenient route, as you might expect, and now there’s a single man-made trail that leads to the cabin.

I love conjuring up the image of this cabin surrounded by nature, right up to the door. I’d never before realized how unlikely it would be to see something like that—or how much work it would take to maintain it.

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