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.