The Cabin

May 20, 2011
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Once upon a time there was a run-down, twenty year old cabin moping quietly in the lonely woods. A mice haven, empty can dump, and a place for all of the ladybugs to snuggle up in was what it was known as. Then, nine heroic teenage girls decided to recreate the cabin. After all, it still had some good in it. Working all day and planning at night, the girls worked hard to restore the cabin by cleaning, painting, installing new cupboards, sweeping, making a front deck, repairing the back deck, decorating, and installing a new ceiling. At the end of the summer, a newly restored, unfamiliar, welcoming cabin stood in place of the old. All of the hard work, sweat, and blood were worth it. On the last day, the girls stood proud, and admired their work. This story isn’t actually a fairy tale. It’s very real. You could say I was one of those girls that stood to admire the work we put in. Let me take you to this magical place to see for yourself.
At first, the ride out to the cabin brings out some emotion of excitement and anticipation. The random lumps of grass and the patches of dry rock clusters spring out of the ground to make the ride more than a bore. We make a game out of it while piled in the back of the pick-up. Sitters and kneelers are most common but sometimes we have a couple of daring standers. No one has fallen off yet so no one has lost but a few scratches and bumps prove that we were risky. As we pull around the brush at the end of our rollercoaster, we finally see the cabin. There, nothing more than a 15 by 15 foot shack-like cabin, boasts all our work from last summer.

The previous tall, itchy grass that defended anyone moderately human-like from opening the cabin door is now vanished with, of course, the help of many hedge clippers, effort, and time. To the left of the cabin is a pile of aimless junk, branches, oversized weeds and a Ouija board prepared to be torched. The cabin, with all of its chipped paint glory and its new mini patio seems to encourage visitors to take a peek inside through the two large windows on either side of the front door. Simple markings on the deck such as a chipped piece of wood or an empty nail hole reminds us as light as a summer’s breeze that this is ours.
The thick, homely door is a pain to unleash; yet, we know it is well worth our efforts. Inside, at first glance, we see the entire interior of what we might call our summer dwelling. The earthy wood smell hits us as we take our first step. The cabin has a main level and a loft. The loft is more of just a balcony, our “top bunk” of the place and our resting area at the end of the day. In the morning, as the sun rises, the bountiful windows that steal every inch of the wall up in the loft provide the most spectacular view of the thick woods surrounding the cabin. The standard wooden ladder is stationed to the far right and obnoxiously blocks our way to the deep red cabinets stocked with food. Bluish carpet square samples with ridges cover the wooden floors beneath our toes and provide us with bristly comfort. To the immediate left is a worn-down, green, floral-print couch that will warn everyone that you are sitting down with its pleasant screeching. Holding its hand would be Sandy’s creation, a homemade fabric chair that complements the overall design. If you are still feeling daring after your ride here, you can take a shot at sitting in the fabric chair without breaking it. No one has conquered that one yet. Picture frames and decorations that claim most of our wall space gives a beach-and-sun feel to the place. I particularly enjoy the nonchalant street signs pasted around the room. They are artifacts that we recovered from the rotting past of the cabin. This cozy place is where I often reclaim the wish of staying in the moment forever.
Directly at the back of the cabin lays a monster sliding-door that opens up to the new, colorful deck. It sometimes can be a challenge to open the sliding doors with the ladybugs standing their ground, but with a little effort it will jerk open eventually. A rusty round table will salute your existence as you decide if you would like to take a seat in the gray, plastic chairs, or stand and wait for someone to bring out the pancake mix and nutella for breakfast. Most often it will be the breakfast route. However, if it is not morning and you are not looking for a meal, you can always just politely stand on the supporting uneven bars below. The large skinny tree covering the sun would be where some people like to feed the birds with our precious pancake mix. Leaning on the front center of the deck, the tall pine tree has been with us for as long as we can remember. Even such a movement as a head turn toward it will trigger warm memories of sitting out on the deck at sunset, laughing as the birds play us a beat. I hope the tree can witness many more experiences like those.
Down the steps and a few paces forward would be where the fireplace and seating area is located. At night everyone attempts to scare each other at this nook. It is not even necessary to use scary stories however because at night the sky is darker than coal and already causes me to be a little frightened. We make jokes of the blackness and it is never any scarier then we make it. The smell of burnt wood and cheese balls infects my system when I take a stroll around the fireplace. Some lonely cans of Fresca scream out for me to pick them up. A mysterious sound comes from the bushes. Looking up, I see rows of branches and tiny trees comforted by their momma trees. Scaring myself by thinking about it too much will probably cause me running up to the cabin, the popular destination in this common type of situation. I arrive in the cabin and the aroma of beef jerky snaps at me. It’s protected by a couple jars delicious Nutella, a jar of dill pickles, four bags of chips and a mess of candy. In my case, I probably would only go as far as the jar of Nutella. The creamy lovely taste of the light brown hazelnut spread tingles my taste buds as it melts at the first contact of my tongue. By now, I realize how foolish it was to be scared and I get the courage to step outside again. These situations happen to everybody and when we are surrounding the fire you will have a shot to compete with who experienced the “scariest” moments of the day. Funny enough, most are just made spooky instead of telling the complete reality. I could talk about experiences like this every day.
A little walk away sits a wide, light-blue river. One of which I have fallen about twenty feet to get to. I decided to take a shortcut down a rough, bumpy slope last summer with the group. I slipped and slid down the steep drop. It was sharp and many pieces of lost rubble found my face as I made my way down. Landing in the water, the sharp splash of cool h2o was both shocking and relieving. I left that slope with no regrets, however, because I was not harmed. It’s so beautiful out there anyway.

After all of the screechy chairs, creepy noises, and deathly falls, I know to forgive the cabin because the good overshadows it all. It has been the host of many good experiences. It keeps us safe and hangs on to our food. It was where we spent hours of labor and a place where we will keep returning to because after all, we love it so much. As we get back in the pick-up preparing for our rollercoaster ride to start again, we silently peek back at what has been our home for the past night. An uncontrollable sense of honor fills our system. We, a group of nine teenage girls reinvented that. The things that happen were just another reason to go back, for the rush and for the excitement. It’s what makes our cabin, our cabin.





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