I was named June for my birth month and the goddess Juno.

Briar, for my beloved cottage. Briar, for the beauty, the grace amid the chaos. Briar for the tangled brambles of roses; my birth flower.

Kelsey. From my lineage of women; wild, courageous, messy and beautiful.

Sweet Briar cottage is a figment of my imagination. It’s a retreat inside my head; one I visit frequently. It’s named for Sweet Briar Road, which I happened across one ordinary day in Norwich, England. Something about that name struck me as so beautiful that I’ve held onto it for years to come.

Sweet Briar cottage can take whatever form you most feel like in any particular moment. Sometimes it’s black wood, sometimes it’s white. Sometimes there are shutters, window boxes, a cosy front porch. Sometimes it sits up high on its foundations, Queenslander style. Other times it’s a centuries old English chocolate box. Sometimes it’s a tiny house, with a loft. Rooms are added where needed; shrinking and expanding in proportion to your whims.

Some constants: There is always water. A gentle stream, a steady river, a still lake, a wild sea. There are always books. Always candles. Always tea. And always, there are briars, brambles, flowers. They crawl up the wall, or across the gate, or over the eaves above the porch. Whatever the season. Whatever the style. Wherever they may be.

Inside, I sit by the window, in a high backed chair with velvet print, or a wooden rocking chair, on a well loved couch covered in blankets, or a window seat. I burn holy wood. I light candles, flip tarot cards. I put my tea on the windowsill and watch it fog up the glass while I drink in other people’s words. But the thing I love to do most is curl up with a notebook and write my own.

When I close my eyes and imagine myself in a happy place, Sweet Briar cottage is where I go. Won’t you come in?