The astonishment is all in the being here. It is the turtle in the pond, the thought in the mind, the falling star, the stranger on Main Street… To all of this, loss, which seems only to take away, adds its own kind of necessary contribution. No matter what goes missing, the object you need or the person you love, the lessons are always the same. Disappearance reminds us to notice, transience to cherish, fragility to defend. Loss is a kind of external conscience, urging us to make better use of our finite days. Our crossing is a brief one, best spent bearing witness to all that we see: honoring what we find noble, tending what we know needs our care, recognizing that we are inseparably connected to all of it, including what is not yet upon us, including what is already gone. We are here to keep watch, not to keep.
Kathryn Schulz (from her book Lost & Found)
I am not sure why the above struck me as appropriate for today's blog except that it "vibrated" with me somewhat as a tuning fork makes a hum with you wrap your fingers around it...vibrating your whole hand for a short time.
Our first long summer stay at the cabin is wrapping up now...Four weeks...28 days. Not so long in the scheme of things. We are here to keep watch, not to keep. The cabin reminds me of things we are blessed with and so much also of what "cannot keep". Our physical and mental selves savor the familiar lake and the Northwood smells and sounds differently now. A real quiet descends upon us. Deep quiet. Wind, waves, pines, eagles, loons, wild storms, campfires, a canoe ride, wild flowers, etc etc. Things my husband has known and loved for well over 50 years. Me, over 30.
This time we spent time assessing things that we won't use again here and dismantling some to make room for the kids who we hope will want to keep the cabin someday and make it their own. We still hope for some years here...but not the same way they "used to be". "Transience to cherish...fragility to defend". My art studio is being dismantled now (a small desk and shelf left by the window facing the lake. We need the storage for other things and I don't need to duplicate a studio here anymore. Greg's train tables came down. He has his one train layout now in Madison. He needs a work table and some storage instead.
It is interesting that in the two summers starting with the pandemic summer in which we did not come here at all for the first time so much has changed. Now it is as if everything has moved slightly so that we are looking at things from a different point of view. It would have happened anyway, of course, but it's just that it's more than obvious now. The change continues as the pandemic goes on.
We'll be back on August 9 or 10 for another shorter stay with more family headed up with us for awhile. Then there will be more berries, more acorns, more pine cones, and the sumac will begin to turn just slightly as the ferns get dusty and turn yellow on the tips. We've seen it so many times.
Spreading dogbane? I've never noticed it before. What a lovely find and with a silken moth nest tucked in one leaf too!
The Boathouse is an older landmark in nearby Minocqua...a somewhat dusty and aging lakeside restaurant it turns out. A bit of a disappointment on a sunny Thursday morning last week. I was immediately taken in by the signage, however, which I found so interesting AND a real challenge as well. Who knew there was a beer called "Bell's Oberon"? Or "Landshark Lager"? I was inspired after reading about a delightful artist named Doris Rifkin who loves to incorporate signs into her paintings. If you google her you'll find dozens of wonderful paintings full of print.