Hidden amongst the swaying trees in the land of 10,000 lakes, there lies a simplistic cabin in the heart of the woods. The cracked, winding roads leading up to the destination create the illusion of utter connection to the natural world. There is a rickety, rusty locked gate at the entrance of the estate. The driveway is lined with an arrangement of vast greenery and twigs. At first glance, the cabin looks as though it has seen better days. The exterior is worn and deteriorated. The logs of the cabin are lined thick with moss and cobwebs. Dried leaves and snow make the caved roof their home. An old metal swing creaks back and forth, courtesy of the subtle wind. Though the cabin is physically eerie, the feeling is undeniably welcoming. There is an overwhelming sense of comfort that draws me to the cabin. It is almost as though a greater force is pulling me forward saying, “Come in. Stay a while.”
The sturdy front door welcomes me into the absolute warmth of the cabin and I begin to explore. The cottage is open and airy with tall drastic arches and beams in the ceiling. In contrast, the lively, rich character makes it seem cozy and quaint. Dark stained wooden planks covered in scuffs and scratches rest beneath my feet. It smells of twisted hickory and stale cigars. Antique decor, such as rusted wash boards and saws, line the knotty pine logs. An old family portrait of the original cabin owners hangs slightly crooked above the couch; watching over the home and observing the guests. The parents and two children are painted on the yellowing canvas with long sweeps of a paint brush. They look, quite frankly, stone-faced and dull. I find it ironic how they can look so cold from the outside, but must have immense love for this cabin on the inside. The blatant history that lies within here is undeniable. The floor creaks with each step, a testimony to how precious and fragile this place is.
Enormous logs, which form the foundation of this cabin are stacked tightly atop one another, in contrast to the light blue curtain softly draped over the sink window. On the counter lies a plate of oatmeal raisin cookies made as a housewarming gift by the owners. A creased manilla sticky note rests on top of the plate that says, “Welcome! Enjoy all the cabin has to offer”. The love packed morsels crunch loudly as they meet my mouth, before they softly melt on my tongue. An ash black wood burning stove sits patiently in the corner of the kitchen, begging me to turn it on and warm my trembling hands. A cream colored refrigerator startles me as it hums and clicks in response to ice cubes being made. Above it, four copper pans hang on crooked nails pressed deeply in the walls. The pots are scratched and weathered, yet still reside actively wishing to be used again. The space is generally quiet, aside from the refrigerator and the occasional pine cone rolling off of the roof and into the freshly fallen snow, leaving its mark. Calmness is not only a desire here, but a right.
The natural character of this space pulls me every which direction, showing me its’ unique features. An open loft with spare beds overlooks the rustic retreat. I follow the knotted stairs and notice the worn and hollowed path on them. Generations of footprints have been melted into wooden stairs by mud embedded boots, which helps to tell the story of this place. The view from the top of the loft is breathtakingly different from the bottom. Two twin sized beds rest against the wall; draped ever so carefully in red wool blankets. On the wall above the beds, the words of the Lord’s Prayer float across a blank white canvas hanging, again, crooked. The realization that the details of this cabin tends to be a little rough, yet pleasant in its own rugged way, catches me off guard. I think it only adds to the real and organic beauty of this place. Incandescent sunlight beams into the cabin, giving light to the millions of floating dust particles inhabiting the space. I stand still for a moment to appreciate the raw beauty of nature through the large glass windows. The ice on the lake stands firmly as one; emphasizing the diversity of trees and plants before it. It is a calm evening with only a few dusty ivory clouds hanging in the sky. The nature is deeply alive and waiting for their spring revival underneath the thick coating of white snow.
After looking out for a while, I decide to fully immerse myself in my surroundings, so I head out the front door. The harsh reality of a winter evening bites at my flesh, but the air overtakes me with its’ refreshing existence. The pines converse back and forth with the wind as their wing man. Eventually, the lake swallows the sun and out comes the stars. There’s something about deep moments like this that brings out the inner poet in me. I cannot help but think there must have been some magnificent memories made in this cabin over the years. It is almost as though I can see a couple waltzing around the room after a glass of wine on a summer evening. I can imagine families gathering around the wooden table to say grace and children sneaking out of bed to spot the big dipper through the windows. My mind is consumed with astounding realizations. Apparitions of memories previously made dance around the space in an echoed time-lapse. After momentarily pondering the story of this cabin, I head back inside to avoid the displeasure of the frozen northwoods.
A sigh of relief washes over me as I find refuge from the cold upon entering the log walls. I make myself a cup of coffee, start a fire, and take a seat on the worn leather couch. It is cracked, stained, and stationed directly in front of two large windows overlooking the forest and lake. The rich oak wood fire is crackling slowly in contrast to the harsh bitter winter that awaits outside the sturdy front door. Steam from my dark roast coffee spirals up and disappears like an unreachable distant memory. The sacred liquid warms my throat and stomach like a therapeutic experience. I notice myself dazing off with every sip of brew I consume, so I decide to call it a night.
The comfort and ease of the bed beckons me upstairs once again. Half in a daze, I change into my flannel pajamas and crawl into bed after a long day of physical and mental exploration. The ceiling fan calms my exhausted body as it hums in an endless current. The big constellations gazing at me through the windows double as my night light and bed time story. Scattered and hazed thoughts jumble around my mind. I consider the idea that there are endless times, endless locations, and endless cabins that I could have chosen to experience. However; here I lie in the bed at the top of the worn stairs, through the sturdy front door, and the rickety, rusty locked gate. I begin to realize that I was brought here for a reason. These log walls have lessons to teach me. The essence of this manifestation lies not within the well kept matter, as surface level society may ingrain, but in the thicket of the objectionable, raw state.