mandag, oktober 16, 2006


The home in the woods. Yay to Mum for snapping the pic!

First, get your coffee and set in play “You Name It” by the Cannanes. (Opens in a QuickTime page.) Now we've a quick soundtrack. Now we’ve a cabin anecdote and five things that scare me:

To Build a Fire

I have now mastered one of the four major elements.

At the cabin this weekend the heater broke. The air temp at night was below freezing so Pops and I gathered firewood from the outdoor pit (not always advisable, as you’re liable to pick up sap-spitting pine that can set your chimney on fire) and got up every 45 minutes during the night to add new wood to the small iron stove. It was certainly the most cabiny night we’ve spent there as the family.

All in all, I didn’t mind it a bit. The way-back world fascinates me, and I think we all ought to have some survival skills beyond just having Triple A at the ready in our cellphones.

The peninsula across the way--sometimes called The Island--remains undeveloped. Good.

So I helped tend the fire. I watched the way certain drafts developed, how the shift of a log affected the ebb and flow of the heat and smoke. I slept on the porch with blankets pulled up over my head and a stocking hat on.

It wasn’t tough living, of course. I’m no Natty Bumpo. But I do hope to go back this winter to spend a few days writing letters and fiction alone along the shore of our snow-blanketed lake. I’ll heat the main room from the stove. I’ll use kerosene lamps. And I’ll hatchet a hole in the ice to get water for a bathroom bucket. (Now that’s living!)

Still: When you’ve a house-full of people to take care of and when during the waking hours you are all confined, essentially, to one room, you realize quickly that the murder rate among settlers in pioneer America was perhaps alarmingly low. Imagine spending like 80 percent of your four-to-six-month winter in a 12 x 12 room with at least four others? All of whom have years of complaints they can justifiably unleash on you at any moment?

Five Things I’m Still Afraid Of

1. Heights
2. Outhouses
3. Bone-white corn fields around rural churches in October
4. Babysitting
5. Chanting “Bloody Mary” five times before a mirror in a dark room

Therapy has its limits, and a measured amount of fear has its fun.
Weblog Commenting and Trackback by