Figuring more stuff out.

June 2017

When I was a little girl, I used to get an empty frozen orange juice can from my mother. With can in hand, I would crawl under the bushes in the front of our house and pretend that juice can was my own little cabin in the woods. I gathered small stones to create a path to my cabin. I placed sticks for trees and flowers for the garden around my imaginary cabin. Under those bushes, I created a wilderness experience that I have seemed to crave throughout my life.

Now 57 years later, I write this post up at a little cabin in the woods, just like the one I imagined as a six-year- old. I have rented the rustic cabin for most of the summer. Each day I sit in the screened porch and work, typing and slapping mosquitoes at the same time. I can hear the creek running a little way down the hill. I bathe in the creek each day. The path down to it on this June day is lined with lupines of all colors.

I have to admit having no electricity, internet or running water takes a bit of getting used to. There is a market and coffee shop four miles down the trail where I can get online and eat a fresh-baked cinnamon roll in the morning. Proof there is a God. I also never realized how often I checked my phone until I spent my first few days at this cabin. I kept checking it out of habit, each time realizing that I have no service. I am slowly getting used to it.

In hindsight, choosing this place to stay is actually quite symbolic. It’s what I always imagined as a little girl. Everything is up to me: starting a fire in the morning, running to the outhouse at midnight and coping or freaking out if a bear walks through the yard. (I hope I cope can with it.)

Since Barry’s death from FTD, I am on my own and had better learn to deal with everyday life as I move forward. I could have just stayed in the city for the summer, but this solitude is what I needed. I think that I am finally ready for life as a single person.

A few days before I got to the cabin, I found myself smiling for no reason at all while rowing at the YMCA. It felt really good. The serendipity of finding this cabin makes me smile, too. I met the owner’s partner at a mushroom class last fall. They had bought a new place with electricity five miles down the road so this off-the- grid cabin was available. A six-year- old’s imagination became reality. In fact, it is better than I could have imagined, minus the mosquitos.

I am not sure what comes next after this summer, although I have some ideas of what I might like to do. But for now as I sit on the porch overlooking the hillside of lupine and birch trees, I have faith that things will fall into place. But if things don’t work out, I know now I can handle what comes my way. So tonight, I slap mosquitos and think that a six-year- old girl’s dream finally came true. I also know that come morning, I will have a fresh-baked cinnamon roll and will continue to figure stuff out, one mosquito bite at a time.

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24 comments on “Figuring more stuff out.
  1. Nancy Glades says:

    What a lovely reflection of your life at this tender, cocooned time. Thanks for sharing.

  2. You SO deserve this little bit of heaven. I love knowing that you are well, busy, safe, and thriving. Keep ON!

  3. It’s interesting, many more women than men end up alone in the end, and I often wonder what being single again, if and when it happens to me, if I will cope. I was single until I was 44 and was pretty darn happy [although in search of the right guy, no doubt]. SO it’s interesting to see how you realize you have now what that child you imagined. Your post will inspire others-that in time-we recreate our positions as we go through life

  4. Terri Shoberg says:

    Nancy, you sound so at peace. I have no creativity to engage me and I fear the future for me might be quite bleak. I haven’t given myself the time to think or pray about it. Still too busy with Al’s dying process. Today I learned about the benefits of morphine and how to cut the back of his shirts so he can wear them more comfortably. I know it won’t be long and I think he is so ready. This morning I was listing all the people in heaven who will be so excited to see him. Blessings to you.

  5. Deb Rankin-Moore says:

    What an uplifting post! It sounds as if you are taking good care of yourself.

    Thank you for sharing this part of your journey with your fans.

  6. claudine coughlin says:

    Hi Nancy, I love “Figuring stuff out!” It sound like you are having a peaceful time up north. We will have to get together with our mom and do burgers at the place near where she lives. I even have a coupon for the place. Enjoy the rest of your summer. I hope it warms up abit here in the cities. Love, Claudine

  7. Nancy Paxson says:

    Sounds like the kind of rustic place we would love to stay in. The property on Madeline Island that our family had since I was 10, (and is trying to sell now), has no electric or indoor plumbing. We had propane stove, fridge and two lights. Otherwise candles, Coleman lanterns, heating water for dishes in big tea kettles. Also sun showers were great when lake was too cold. We miss that seclusion so much. (We could get phone connection sometimes if we walked out to the front bank.) Glad to hear of your place!!

  8. Elaine says:

    Hey No….sounds great!…(of course, mosquitoes, reminding you you’re home in Minnesota)…..fun to read …..I’ll find a way to communicate late next month as I hope to get a few days worth on mosquitoes myself….. enjoy this wonderful adventure!….Elaine

  9. Karolyn Lee says:

    I really enjoyed this post. I loved your descriptions of this wonderful retreat. It brought back fun memories of my younger self. I hope there are many more books being written and illustrated in your future.

  10. Christine Bekiares says:

    I also think it’s about remembering the joy and hopes of childhood. Maybe small spaces give us an feeling of being wrapped in a blanket of security and control.

  11. Mary Lienke says:

    Peaceful blessings to you, Nancy! There is a sweet cabin for sale in Siren Wisc…a friend of mine is selling it for 97,000 – I know you probably prefer Superior area but thought I would let you know. She has to sell it because she went into a nursing home due to MS – knew you could appreciate that too. Take good care and enjoy the summer!

  12. Jane Stein says:

    So good to read your post. Just put my husband with FTD in a memory care center. Now after all the years of caring for him I have to find out who I am and what I want. Quite a change! I’m assuming it will take quite awhile. Thanks, Nancy!

  13. Jeannie Porter says:

    This was a delightful post having followed the Nancy in the world of FTD. You sound at peace and ready for what life hands you or rather what you carve out for the single Nancy. I’ll be reading for what comes next.

  14. Kathy Schellhammer says:

    Hi, Nancy,
    How do I get on your mailing/contact list? Can I do it via Facebook? A friend shared your writing and I hope to be a regular reader.
    Thanks!

    • Go to my website to sign up..however emails are usually geared for teachers and doesn’t cover the blog. Best to keep tabs on FB.Thanks for your support and interest!

  15. My Dear Nancy_
    I AM GLAD THAT YOU ARE INDEED ENJOY YOURSELF WHILE IN THE WOODS.
    You are a very clever young lady, and I have no doubt that your imagination will enhance the adventure. Bathing in the creek – now that one surprised even me. I would had heated water and would have taken a sponge bath.
    Save a fresh-baked cinnamon for me, please.

  16. I love your map, Nancy. I will be sure to take it with me on my next road trip.

  17. Midge Werth says:

    I am constantly amazed at the women I know who in the face of adversity not only survive but thrive. You are truly one of those women, Nancy. I look forward to what I hope are many new doodles and wonderful books in your future! Bless you!

  18. Mary Johnson says:

    Nancy, you have a super-sized village cheering you along on this new journey! You are loved and supported (albeit virtually for most of us) but meeting you in person and sharing a cold beer or lovely glass of wine would be welcomed as well 😉

  19. Judy Peterson says:

    You are an amazing lady…a real inspiration. There are days when I crave solitude…not bears or mosquitoes though! Another bonus is getting away from the news. I am immersed in reading these days and so appreciate talented writers and illustrators like you. Soak it in and keep sharing with us.

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