Thursday, September 29th, 2016

At the cabin, Saturday morning

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Photo by Doreen Wigderson

Photo by Doreen Wigderson

This is my fourth attempt at self-deprivation in the pursuit of nature this summer.  I’m at a cabin overlooking a small lake in Vilas County.  That’s the best description I can give because if I mentioned the town nearby you’d have to confess to never having heard of it. 

The natives, for the most part, like it that way, and prefer to keep civilization at bay as much as possible, even as they fleece the occasional tourist or tenderfoot hunter.

It’s 6:30 AM.  I’m on vacation.  Mother Nature is certainly noisy at this hour, and has no respect for the working man trying to catch up on his sleep.

You might be wondering what a wonderfully urbane city-dweller like myself is doing out in the middle of nowhere.  My wife’s family owns the cabin, and we occasionally foray into the wilds looking to take a break from it all.

I’m not quite John Belushi in The Continental Divide looking for a cigarette.  I have my iPod filled with several audio books and a few thousand songs guaranteed to frighten the bears.  The cabin has electricity, even a working sink, stove and refrigerator.  I can get a signal on my cell phone if I walk to the road.  No internet.

In a pinch the cabin can sleep ten, more if mattresses are not required.  It has two bedrooms, an enclosed front porch, and a kitchen/dining area.  When it gets cold there is an oil stove that is more than adequate for the task.  The outhouse is a deluxe model, two seats, and not too far of a walk even in the middle of the night. 

Then there’s the quiet.  Noise is something you bring with you to the cabin.  Out here the disturbances to the ear are rare.  The occasional logging truck passes nearby on the road, but the constant din of traffic was left behind on named roads many miles back.  Instead, it’s the loons, or the bluejays, or a woodpecker that catches your attention.  In mid-summer it’s the buzz of a hummingbird.

I like to sit on the dock as the morning mist slowly rolls across the water, listening for any sound while watching the loons swim across the lake and hoping to catch a glimpse of the eagle I had seen the day before.  A frog gently slips off the log beneath the pier into the water, the ripples disturbing slightly the pane of glass reflecting the nearby trees.

I hope a bear doesn’t get me.

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