Cabin in the Woods

Cabin in the Woods

Our friend Gray invited us out to his family’s cabin in the Upper Peninsula. It was chilly and gloomy and all kinds of cozy — everything I had hoped for from the Northwoods.

The hours passed too quickly at the cabin. All nine of us were very ambitious in bringing multiple activities, handfuls of books, and board games. The only thing the Lake wanted was for us to bathe in each other's company without a looking at the clock.

Of course, we succumbed. The longer we stayed, the easier it became to recondition ourselves to be careless of time. In the few days we were there, we cooked hearty soup and baked pies; made flapjacks with coffee in the mornings; drank hot tea in the evenings after a steam in the sauna; watched animals swim in the lake (an otter!); walked under canopies of fiery leaves; gathered around the radio; and wore smoke-stained clothes. When we did glance at the clock, it would already be 3 in the morning! Our last night was melancholic. We felt the creeping of time, closed our eyes to hang on to those soft moments, hoping we had enough, and wishing it was infinite.

Lisle’s River
by Jim Harrison

Dust followed our car like a dry brown cloud.
At the river we swam, then in the canoe passed
downstream toward Manton; the current carried us
through cedar swamps, hot fields of marsh grass
where deer watched us and the killdeer shrieked.

We were at home in a thing that passes.
And that night, camped on a bluff, we ate eggs
and ham and three small trout; we drank too much
whiskey and pushed a burning stump down the bank -
it cast hurling shadows, leaves silvered and darkened,
the crash and hiss woke up a thousand birds.

Now, tell me, other than lying between some woman's legs,
what joy have you had since, that equaled this?