Friday, September 11, 2009

Cabin Fever

The dock was bathed in sunlight, broken only by dappled shadows from the cedars perched on the hillside above. The water, clean and clear, was an invitation to our overheated selves as we tumbled out of the car. This was our end of summer respite, our last mad grab at freedom and heat and lake before reality crashed in on us. School was looming for the kids, and a busy fall schedule of work for my husband and I. Spontaneity was the rule of the day, so we found a little cabin left all alone, and descended upon it with glee and hopeful hearts.
It felt good to be spontaneous; to allow the almighty schedule to fall away; to break the back of appointments and obligations, and simply to Go. Throw the last of the clean clothes in a bag, grab whatever food lies in the fridge, get the dog, and Go.
And so we arrived at a wee cabin called 'The Whitehouse.' Funny name for this place. It is, indeed, white, but that is where the comparison ends. It is old, and tiny, and musty. The kitchen is just big enough for one. The television has one channel and....wait for it....a VCR player. (My kids gasped in horror at the absence of a DVD player and 500 channels!)
There is one teeny bedroom on the main floor, but...go outside, down a set of stairs, down another set of stairs, unlock a door, and voila! The promised extra two bedrooms. The teenagers were delighted at the idea of having their very own 'suite', however my ten year old took one look at the separate entrance and the long walk up to the parents, and promptly set up camp outside our bedroom.
Okay. The Whitehouse is rustic. And tiny. And...buggy (much to my chagrin. Why do I think a woodsy cabin would be anything else?) And hot. We, of the spoiled air-conditioned generation, languished in the hot, airless tomb of a place at night, to the point where my husband and I trudged our 3/4 size mattress (?) onto the deck to sleep, in hopes of a wiff of a breeze. Yup, we got a breeze. We also got...crickets. All night long. I love crickets as the sun is setting, and the day is ending. It's a beautiful bedtime lullaby that gets me all sleepy and peaceful. But crickets all night....nonstop...right beside our thanks. There is not a sleeping pill in the world large enough to counteract those singing demons of the night.
The next morning dawned bright and sunny in a beautiful cloudless sky. We rose, stiff from the crappy mattresses, stretched, and watched the lake come to life. Perfectly still and glassy, a crane sailed impossibly close to the water, its feet occasionally touching the surface to cast ripples in its wake. The peace was broken only by the occasional splash of a fish finning, or a chipmunk chattering in the branches of a cedar nearby.
We took steaming mugs of coffee and ventured onto the dock with lawn chairs and sat, reveling in the beauty of the morning. Our bodies and minds began to let go. Let go of agendas, and schedules, and to-do lists. The rhythm of the water against the dock rocked us in a cradle of peace. Our day stretched ahead of us..long ,and quiet. It was enough.
Funny, that. It is enough to have a bare-bones cabin with a tiny kitchen. It is enough to sit in a deck chair and watch the sunrise. It is enough to simply be with each other.
Why is this not enough in regular life? With my gourmet kitchen, king size bed and air conditioning? Why is it not enough to simply be, to breathe, to notice the beauty in my presence?
Okay. Obviously I would not want to live in this cabin all year long. What is quaint and fun for a week would quickly become cramped and frustrating. However I do think that I can take the peace I felt sitting on that dock and bring it home with me. And in spite of the busyness of my regular life, I can remember to sit, to breathe, to watch. It reminds me to watch a sunrise once in a while. To revel in the quiet of a morning, or the thrum of a hawks' wing as it soars overhead. To bring a bit of cabin life into every day.
Except maybe the bugs.

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