We call it The Cabin, and so it is. Just a hip-roofed cottage in a stand of spruce and birch trees, yet it is one of my oldest memories.
It smells like history: some combination of wood varnish, old furniture and bacon grease. It lingers on my bedding after I unpack, and links my city apartment with my happy past. We’ve been going there since before I was born.
It sounds like the rustle of the birch-leaves in the wind that is always blowing, and the creak of the wooden staircase up to the second floor. That creak that made sneaking down to the bathroom (outhouse, longer ago) so hard. They fixed the creak with carpet this year, and it seems wrong. The inane sounds of everyday life are gone—the alarm clock, the ringing phone, the traffic, the siren. The silent demands of the dirty dishes and the laundry—all gone in this peaceful place.
It looks like comfy, mismatched furniture. Everything is old-fashioned but functional—plates, cups, and certain forks and knives that are year after year. Who remembers the butter knives? I do.
It looks like silver water stretching to the blue horizon, broken by white caps at irregular intervals. The wind is strong. We smile, because that means big waves and more fun.
It feels like the rough wood of the handrail, and the pine-board walls, and the carven coffee table. Its the sag in an old mattress. My back protests until it sinks into the softness and forgets that it’s the wrong shape. It feels like sand in the swimsuit and tangled hair after spending happy hours at the beach, collecting shells, jumping in the waves, playing Frisbee.
It tastes like pancakes, and bacon, and Kraft Dinner—not most people’s idea of fine dining, but for us KD was always a treat reserved for the Cabin. We come together around the table—to eat, to laugh, and play cards. We make coffee in the afternoon and visit, because we can. Maybe a little later we’ll bike to the park and play basketball until we’re tired and sweaty. Then we’ll taste sunflower seeds and peach kool-aid from a plastic water jug, passed from hand to hand.
And then there is the sixth sense, the intuition, the essence. What does the cabin mean? The cabin means being together.