Sunday, July 24, 2022

We are Here to Keep Watch, Not to Keep

 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. 

I hope I didn't already post this sketch.  I may have.  It's my bags full of art supplies coming up to the cabin which are now filling up again for the return trip.  Done in water-soluble tinted graphite.  

The cabin nestled into the forest from the road side.
(Lake on the other side.). Our car is covered in a gray car cover off the left side behind the trees.  A blue bag of recycle waiting for us to take to the recycle.  There's a group of large trees just to the left of the door.  One of those fell this spring in a wind storm.  Toward the cabin!!!!
BUT just missed major damage by falling where those trash cans are sitting and then getting hung up in the upper branches!  HOW lucky was that.  


Friday, July 15, 2022

Summer Thoughts

You're braver than you believe, 

stronger than you seem, 

and smarter than you think.

 (AA Milne)

The cabin, as the summer moves along, simmers into the routines that becomes a kind of mesmerizing center of our world.  The climate, the smells, the sounds are so different from our other life.  A life of wood smoke, piney smells, marshmallows and tiny flowers.  A life of quiet or wild storms, lapping lakeside water at the pier.  Reading on the summer porch, drawing in the studio, examining a weevil, watching caterpillars eat.  The gorgeous berry colors, the pesky mosquitoes, baking cookies in the old oven, streaming church on the computer, wearing flannel shirts and jeans, seeing so many stars.  SO quiet here. 

Sitting on the pier and looking down into the water.  Smiling over the plethora of rocks...where have they been for all those years?  Rolling around in this lake or along the shores...boulders now broken into stones.  Old, old, old.  Thinking about that new telescope now showing us photos of our universe beyond our dreaming...surely where those rocks came from originally?  My grandsons skip them across the dark waves.  Sending them back to roll in again some day.  

Family comes and goes.  Good times.  Memories.  


Saturday, July 9, 2022

July Cabin Sketches

 Ability comes from the doing.  

And in the meantime drawing is solely for our own pleasure.

You will slowly feel its warming effect on your spirit and I guarantee it will bring happiness and connect you to this wonderful world of ours. 

Faith in this creative process, and faith in your ability to achieve it, 

can change your life.

Carol Peebles

Monday, July 4, 2022

Cabin Time

 And yet I know that hope is not a default, it is a choice, it is daily intention and action. Writing a better story is not a given, it is an intention, it is how we lean into the next great turning.

Carrie Newcomer

There is an amazing "aura" about time at the takes about a week for me to "fall" into the ambiance of a the new-old ways of cabin life.  Ever so slowly my metabolism slows down and I begin rise and wake with the sun again.  To hear the frogs and birds more closely to smell the lake and breathe more deeply.  To smile over the smell of cinnamon French toast in the morning, to sit with my book in late evenings and watch the wild storms sweep over the water.  To really "see" the verge flowers along the road again.  

Time on the deck with my sketchbook letting my breathing go slow again...following the flow of the ink and waving at friends at boats going by.  Smelling the woodsmoke, sharing stories over wine and feeling the sun on your back.  Intent on writing a better story* (based on the old memories).  Welcome to summer at the cabin. 

*Having my two daughters with us this week has been SO delightful. 
I can't thank them enough for a wonderful week together.  Great food, great stories, great memories, wonderful help, laughter. As we "lean into the next great turning."