Cottagecore: A Welcomed Distraction
Days turned to weeks turned to months at home to reduce the spread of COVID-19, and thus, remote activities were performed to the fullest degree. Hobbies such as baking became the preoccupation of enough of the population to cause flour to become a coveted item—and quite understandably. As Apple very generously reminded me each week that my screen time had increased substantially, I felt a desire to work with my hands, feigning a return to “real life” and subsequently submitting myself to the quarantine romanticism that is cottagecore.
In the midst of a pandemic, the rustic lifestyle encourages self-sufficiency. We exist in a time where there is nowhere to go and no one to see, so we pretend we’re Laura Ingalls, and make do at the homestead.
Cottagecore depicts a simpler, undisturbed life. Two chickens wander the backyard. Forget-me-not flowers frame the walkway. A loaf of sourdough bakes in the oven. In the midst of a pandemic, the rustic lifestyle encourages self-sufficiency. We exist in a time where there is nowhere to go and no one to see, so we pretend we’re Laura Ingalls, and make do at the homestead.
But it seems that I am not cut out for the cottagecore lifestyle. The tomatoes my 13-year-old sister planted in May are unripe four months later, and the wooden embroidery hoop I thought I was going to buy in June is probably still sitting in an online shopping cart. In July, we stitched new straps on the apron I received during cooking camp in 8th grade but I couldn’t make the pecan kringle because I broke the food processor. And so ended my attempts at a homey lifestyle.
I resorted to idly obsessing over cheap Nordic houses—a momentary guilty pleasure some days, and a continuous, lingering thought on others. Pinterest only heightened my fantasy of moving roughly four thousand miles away and learning Swedish, as I scrolled through infinite amounts of VSCO-edited photos encompassing the “cottagecore” aesthetic. Lattice pie crusts and woven baskets interlaced among linen clothing encouraged me to subscribe to a digital newsletter of cheap houses still outside of my price range; I delighted in the pastoral landscapes and red brick chimneys—bonus points for a thatch roof.
A quaint property with a picket fence perimeter rests in tranquil seclusion. Not only does its physical isolation make it a prime location to quarantine, but it also provides a spiritual escape from the chaos. Not to hide, to rest. A COVID respite in which I can regain my bearings before returning to the here and now: the facemasks and the Zoom meetings. Romanticizing now to be better for later, when you can finally exist in a Nordic house, hanging your 8th-grade cooking camp apron on a clothesline, eating pastries off antique dishware, and planting an herb garden for the honeybees.