Dolce Domum

The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame, was published in 1908 in England and 1909 in America and over the years has become a much loved classic. The principle characters are

talking animals that live in and around a river and, although they all have their faults, display charming examples of hospitality, forgiveness, compassion, generosity and humility throughout the book. While looking for a name for the company that would acquire Cottages & Gardens Publications, I turned to this classic and in Chapter Five, entitled “Dulce Domum,” I found it. ■ A couple of years ago, when circumstances dictated that I downsize from my home in Westport, I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to leave. As a comfort-loving Taurus, I get attached to people and things and am always loathed to let go. I had built the Westport house from the ground up using natural stone from the property, filled it with antiques that had been collected over a lifetime and “decorated” the exterior with carefully trained ivy and abundant climbing hydrangeas. It was my vision of the perfect Scottish Minister’s house— our “Family Seat.” Others shared that vision, too, because the house was sold in seven weeks to a lovely family. ■ Two years later, I adore my new upside-down house that hangs over a raging (wonderful when it rains!) waterfall in Silvermine. The community is artistic and magical, and its warmth and neighborliness reminds me of growing up in a Scottish village. I brought my people and things with me. And it is home. ■ Dulce Domum (duhl-cheh dome-um) means “sweet home,” and if ever there was a period in our history when our “sweet homes” meant so much to us, it is now. As the recession howls around us, we find comfort and sanctuary in our homes with family, friends and neighbors. Dulce Domum. ■ At the end of Chapter Five, the weary mole returns to his home after having spent time in the upper world: “It was good to think he had this to come back to; this place which was all his own, these things which were so glad to see him again and could always be counted upon for the same simple welcome.”

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