A Week at the Cabin
When I suggested a fall vacation would be nice, my husband filled up the water jugs and said he'd do the grocery shopping if I made the list. We don't need a ticket out of town. Just a week at the cabin, with no electricity except what I can pedal into the battery that powers the radio and my laptop, no cell service, no Internet, no nothing but as Robert Frost wrote, the "easy sweep" of the wind through the trees. Although it actually wasn't that easy. We had a couple of big storms, with wind and rain shaking the place, and then the last day it dawned sunny and cold, so cold there was ice on the pond. The most exciting thing that happened was a weasel stole the cheese from the shelf on the back porch which doubles as a fridge. I hadn't heard it, in the all clamoring wind, but when my husband returned from his day in town and wanted some apples and cheese before supper ( a goat stew) he did. "It must have been a weasel or a mink or marten," he said. "Same thing."
"What's the difference between a weasel and a mink?"
"Who would want to wear a weasel coat?"
While he was gone, I walked around the pond, wrote, pedaled the bike/generator, read two great new novels, Emily, Alone and The Watery Part of the World and a collection of Anna Quindlen's old New York Times columns, listened to country songs and the news on the radio, and learned how to play darts. It was about as restful and quiet as a week could be. By the last day I was really ready to get down to work, to finally finish the novel I have been writing. The reason I came up here. That's when the neighbors stomped up onto the porch and hollered for some breakfast. My husband had left with all the perishables. I would join him in town by dinnertime and had to walk down the old logging road two miles to my car. I offered tea, with sugar and the last of the milk. I told them about the weasel. They said that whenever they leave fresh cream on the ledge by their door one steals it. "Can't blame him, if all you ate were squirrels a little fresh cream would taste darn good." I had missed a few obituaries this week ( I wrote one before I left) and since my neighbor is also the editor of the paper, he had to write them, and so he was more inclined than usual to discuss the meaning of life, and how to age gracefully. He asked what I'd learned writing them all these years. I said I think the secret, if there is one, is not to act old. Not to say "I'm to old for this," or "I'd rather just stay home." It is to keep being out there in the community, volunteering, spending time with friends and family, and testing yourself physically. I suppose if I had to write about this I could come up with something more, but right then, at the table in a cabin, that's what I thought. So we chatted like that, about the dangers of whining and weasels, in the pool of sunshine by the warm wood stove for two hours, until lunchtime, when they walked off through the woods to do outdoor chores- firewood, clean up the yard, making a little shed for the log splitter, while as one of them said "nothing wet or white was falling from the sky."
Good thing too, because this morning when I woke up at home, everything was very quiet, and we were all tucked in under a soft blanket of snow. The first plow of the season just rumbled by.
(Here's a slide show from my pre-snow week.)