Picture of Vera Jane Cook

Vera Jane Cook

Chatter Creek: An Arresting Image

This is the house on the other side of the road. I love looking at it, it peeps behind the living room window like something tired and old but with a beauty that only a mysterious old relic can have. It looks on history, on change and seems to feel the shock of progress, the affront of cars, the need for cement roads that were once dirt and dust and carried the sound of horse’s hooves the way evening carries footsteps.

I love still images, somehow reminding me of people who hide behind their silences and their sadness, revealing all too clearly the losses of their life. But my house across the road doesn’t dwell on that, it barely even sighs. Age has brought it a daunting respect that I can’t help giving it. It looks on, somehow reminding me that time passes and everything around us transforms, lingers momentarily before our eyes and moves on.

Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing I don’t know. I wrote a book called Annabel Horton, Lost Witch of Salem because the history that I can’t remember being a part of fascinates me. Maybe I was there; maybe I’m an old soul like my house across the road. Annabel Horton crosses time to fight the evil she doesn’t understand. She lives in the eighteenth century and in the nineteenth century but she yearns for the simplicity of much earlier times, despite the fact they strung up witches in 1693.

Sometimes, when I look at the changes I’ve seen I feel the arrogance of the 21st century and yearn for shoulder pads, Cole Porter, a 1956 Eldorado and Norman Rockwell, but like my arresting image I can do nothing but look on.