Rhythmically dipping my paddle into the water on alternate sides of my kayak, I slide away from the dock. No need to hurry, no interest in exerting myself, I slip out only a few hundred yards, lay my paddle across the kayak and just float. Drifting in the calm water I take a deep breath and watch the sunset play across the slight ripples from distant boats, rocking gently as they pass. There are no clouds to generate a spectacular sunset in the sky. Instead the show takes place on the lake, reflecting the oranges then pinks of the disappearing light.
Two nearby loons begin to call, each eerie cry echoing in the woods beyond the shore. More loons take up the song, taking turns calling and answering. Soon the rounds circle the lake, die out then start up again. Mesmerizing. Enchanting. I drink in the scene, freeing all outside thoughts from my crowded mind, just being.
Since the beginning of the coronavirus, this has been my get-away. My source of sanity in a world we no longer recognize. The quiet connections with nature soothe my soul, restore peace to my heart as I focus on what hasn’t changed. COVID-19 ceases to invade my thoughts here. And social distancing requires no effort in our remote little cabin. It’s life as usual up here.
We are privileged to have this little haven. Our children grew up coming here, building family memories, escaping our busy suburban world back home, focusing on the simple joys of life and nature. This summer “escape” has a whole different meaning.
Even before opening up, we created an online Cabin Calendar. Each of our three children immediately signed up for one or more weeks at the cabin as well as long weekends for their families. We sandwiched our stays on weekdays between their visits, and before we knew it the cabin was fully booked. My heart was as full as that schedule. The cabin has never seen so much love and activity in one season.
In contrast to my placid sunset, the laughs, squabbles and squeals of delight fill the air as our grandchildren swim, learn to kayak, plead for another boat ride and sneak another s’more when Mom’s not looking. Our kids find time to read, ride bikes, go for hikes in the woods. I can’t resist the urge to make extra trips up to the cabin to join them, to relish time together – another silver lining of the virus.
Part of me relishes this slowing down. Staying local instead of taking far-flung vacations. Squeezing into the cabin with our growing family, or hiding away up there by ourselves. One day we will all travel again, seek adventure in new places, indulge ourselves in lavish resorts or wilderness camping. For me right now, it’s enough to float in the middle of the lake, feeling no urgency to move. Retreating from the world.