As I sit down to write early this morning there is a cool breeze coming in my office window. I can’t bare to close the window since we have so many days when winter takes over and forces us to close the house up tight. Instead, I go and get my old denim shirt. Its fabric is now soft and comforting. The cuffs are frayed and there are holes where the fabric is just fading away from use. The shirt is maybe 45 years old and has stains from painting, refinishing furniture, gardening and more. It is, however, the most comfortable shirt I own.
It made me think about this past weekend when I traveled to northern Wisconsin to a friends cabin. There were five of us gathered for a weekend to relax, enjoy friendships and spend time on a lake. The house has been in her family since she was a little girl. It is used by all her brothers and sisters and it is filled with family belongings, and memories.
Our wine was served in old cut glass goblets, the dishes were more modern pick up from a Target, the photos that covered the walls date back to the 40’s and 50’s. There was wifi for our cell phones but an old turn table with vinyl records to listen to in the late night on the porch – Frank Sinatra, The BeeGee’s and many more kept us flipping from one time period to another.
Out on the lake we also kept us floating through time. Two of us pulled out an old canoe to paddle down the lake, one following in a newer kayak, with one more paddle boarding closer to shore and the last one running errands up and down the lake in a pontoon boat. Each boat coming from a different time period in this families history here at the cabin. Each boat bringing up memories or new experiences for us.
The house sits at the end of a lane and is surrounded by water on three sides. It is old and a bit funky. It it not a fancy new cabin – the oven doesn’t work well, there is a dusty yet moldy scent in the air, some of the dishes are chipped from heavy use, the furniture creaks and groans as we sit down and the lamps wobble as you pull the chains to turn them on – the place is old.
This cabin, like my denim shirt, is old and well loved. There are voices that seem to haunt the place in the late night air. You hear the voices of parents who listened to Frank crooning, the laughter of young families over time and the hip hop of the youth who visit this sacred place now.
The woods, sky and water around holds an even longer sense of time. I do not have a guess as to when this lake was formed – sometime back as the glaciers receded to the north eons ago. The trees stand tall and circle us in at the end of the lane. I am sure they are a second growth forest and yet they have been there longer than I have been on this earth.
Then there is the night sky – floating on the lake at night two of us hear the fading sounds of old time music from the house as we lean back to see a sky. Over time the night goes quiet and we are left with a deep expanse of stars, a view of the Milky Way, and a few small dots moving across the sky reminding us that were are people traveling in little metal boxes across the sky.
We moved from feeling old and stiff to realizing how young and very small we really are in relationship to the world and universe. We felt the age of our planet – old, heavily used, loved by many and showing its wear and tear. The Loons sang their ancient call loud and clear calling to each other yet I couldn’t help but think they may have been calling to us humans as well.
They seem to be telling us to listen, watch, take care – the world is full of old and worn yet beautiful and valuable things, places and people.
We realized the need to cherish this cabin and the belongs and memories we found. We realized again how important it is to cherish the world we live in and to care for it as well.
Like my old denim shirt which I put on carefully for fear it will fall apart on me, we need to wear the earth lightly for it may not last for ever!
(Thanks – Janice and friends for taking your weekend to step back and see the world through time, space and love.)