A Place of Rest
It is early July up North in cabin country. The days are warm and sunny, but the nights are still cool. The painted turtles have climbed out of the lake to lay their eggs, the poison ivy is thriving and the lake water is still clear. The cabin feels like home. In the basement, the old log bed creaks and moans- the wood swelling in response to the humidity. The concrete floors still hold the remnants of winter chill and as a light summer breeze brings warm air in through the windows, the mix of warmth and chill condenses on the floor, making everything a little wet and sticky.
Time Up North has a rhythm all it‘s own. Mornings bring a quiet and still lake- early morning cups of coffee on the deck are the best cups of coffee in the world. The cabin slowly comes to life with bed-headed teens arriving last on the scene. This is the time when deeper conversations are had- in that liminal first morning light- hot coffee in hand, vulnerability still unmasked. Dreams for the summer that stretches long and languid before us, deep gratefulness for the peace and calm of the cabin in the chaos of the world.
The day unfolds in a chaotic orchestration of projects and fun. The lawn mower buzzes, boats are cleaned, floaties are unearthed and refilled. A pontoon ride through each bay is a must- waving at neighbors and seeing what’s new. Kayaks, paddle boards, and discarded beach towels liter the grassy shore and echos of “watch me mom” skip across the lake. There is the smell of the lake- an elemental watery smell that mixes with the scents of deep woods off and sunscreen. Swimsuited bottoms bob around in floaties waiting for the wake of passing boats. Warm skin, laughter, wet toes, happiness.
In the evening, as the sun sighs it’s way into the horizon, the loons begin to call. There are fuzzy little loon babies and we all keep a careful watch, noting where the eagle is circling, where the loons are patrolling and watch for the fuzzy black heads of new life. The regal blue heron makes his way down the shore, his last patrol for the evening. Soon the loons are joined by the sound of the frogs in the bay and the hum of mosquitoes. There is the mad dash from the boat or the campfire the moment the mosquitos ‘hit’. Another reminder that it’s time to replace the expired bug spray from last season.
Gathered inside, there is a jostling in the kitchen for bowls for ice cream, second dinners, and a night cap. Some nights there is a competitive buzz in the air as the musty deck of cards is dragged out and a round of rummy is begun. Other nights are quiet- kids on devices, adults reading, a little quite chat here and there.
Slowly everyone says their good nights. We are often nursing sunburns and bug bites, so anxious we were to soak in the warmth of the sun and forgetful of the bugs. Aloe and hydrocortisone are applied and the comfort of cool sheets is welcome. The window is left open a crack to hear the lake sounds- a beautiful nighttime lullaby that we wait all winter to hear.
It’s summer at the cabin and the pace reminds us to slow down, to be thankful for the little things- the moments, the memories, the time just being without a need to rush or do. These are the times that fill my cup, restore my soul, and heal those places that work on the margins has left ragged. It is a place of healing. A balm. A Blessing.