An Old Cabin and the River of my Name.





Despite the below zero weather we headed north for the weekend. We lit the fire, settled in, and picked up our (okay, my) knitting. And we got out into the cold to play. Snowshoes, skis, skates, and sleds, we played under the bluest ski I've ever seen. (When it's extremely cold it's also extremely beautiful.) We played until we were chilled through. Then we hustled back inside to sit by the fire and warm our toes. There were stories, games, knitting, and conversation. There were good friends, good food, and long dark nights. And did I mention the knitting? Lots of knitting.






The cabin is a special place for my family built more of memories than wood. (Search "cabin" at left for dozens more stories from this place.) With its paneled walls, stone fireplace, and hunter decor, it was built by my grandfather and my great grandfather most of a century ago. The cabin sits alongside the Wolf River where I played as a child, floating homemade boats, building dams, drifting on innertubes. The Wolf River where Pete and I got engaged on a fly fishing trip when I was 24; where we later married each other along her banks beneath the hemlock trees, and who's name chose as our own.  The river where our children – who also carry her name – first swam and where we come to wet or feet and recharge our souls each season.

Family and history run deep in this place. I can feel my grandparents around us each time we come here, see my grandpa in his blue work clothes, smelling of two-cycle engine oil and woodsmoke, out beside the shed. I can see my grandmother in her flowered night gown, her hair miraciouly always perfect, her knitting in her lap.

The cabin was a special place for them as well, and their built their permanent house next door where they spent the last decades of their lives. Because of this when I come to the cabin I also come to remember my grandparents, my childhood, and a flip-book of the most defining moments of my life. There is joy and sadness mixed together in this place, and for that I am grateful. It's our story – woven inseparately into the bunks, the skulls, the sky and the water and the earth.




9 thoughts on “An Old Cabin and the River of my Name.

  1. Melissa says:

    I love living in Milwaukee, but we are lucky that my in-laws live in the Northwoods on the Wisconsin/Michigan boarder. I feel so blessed that we get the opportunity to spend weeks at a time visiting them and get to explore all the wonderful lakes, rivers and woods. We have plenty of nature that we get to in Milwaukee (mainly the river trails and of course that huge lake that’s just a short walk) but there’s nothing like the northwoods and I dream of someday being able to purchase our own little cabin so we can spend the entire summer up there, because as much as I love my in-laws it’s still gets a little crowed after the first week.

  2. Tracey says:

    Oh, it looks like you had a fabulous weekend. We love to go camping, but I haven’t camped in the snow since I was a kid. Here we go camping in the winter because it isn’t too hot and no snakes. I wish we had the snow.

  3. Pamela R says:

    Fantastic! It is so wonderful to have such a special multi-generational place.

    p.s. Are those new Mukluks? I only ask because I think that you referred to yours having to retire. Funny how footwear really makes or breaks the Winter.

  4. Rachel Wolf says:

    As lovely as extended family is, there is a different experience to be had when you enjoy it with just you immediate family. Enjoy the time with your in-laws as well as the dream of your own place!
    ~ Rachel

  5. Rachel Wolf says:

    No new muks for me yet. Well make a trek to Ely later in the winter (I hope!) and Ill replace mine then. Those are Petes. I borrowed them. 🙂

    Love you,

    (P.S. Friday!!!!)

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