Little Cabin the Woods
So this is our little cabin the woods. It is such a lovely retreat from the daily chaos that we endure. It’s so quiet. So quiet that you can hear the “dawn chorus” just before sunrise when all the birds come out to sing. So quiet, that it feels cleansing just to be silent, and drink it in, expelling all the worry and heaviness that has collected over our absence.
This is what we anticipate for the long winter months when we cannot visit. The ability to live by the rhythm of the sun, allowing ourselves to navigate the day without an agenda, and worried only where we shall go on our next walk, and why we haven’t yet seen a deer this visit. It feels absolutely calming to push all other cares out of focus, and know that for the next few days we are just here together, in the middle of this wild, majestic forest.
Sometimes I can feel that way in my little backyard garden in Los Angeles, but there’s always TV, and Twitter, and the next crisis that invades the consciousness, so it’s difficult to really find the space to decompress.
Here in the mountains, though, without the world pressing in, it’s the smallest things that come to the fore. This last visit, we examined the bark beetle damage on our backyard pine, we walked to the creek where Robert’s boyhood dog, Axle, once almost drowned, and laughed again at the story of his emergency rescue. On our hike we took dozens of pictures of little tiny wildflowers and fuzzy crawling creatures, and in the evening we gazed at the campfire while listening to our neighbors tales of their mountain adventures.
At night here in Silver City, when there isn’t a full moon, inside our cabin it’s absolutely pitch black. So dark that you cannot see your hand two inches in front of your face. So dark that without a bedside flashlight you have to feel your way to the restroom.
But outside, you can see a jillion stars, you can even see the Milky Way with your bare eye most nights. And because Robert is an amateur astronomer, we are often treated to a night sky lecture about which planets are up in the sky that evening. But on nights when there is no moon, it can also get very, very dark -- and without flashlights, it always feels like there might be creatures lurking in the dark. It is, after all, their home, and we are just visitors. There have been several occasions when at our nightly campfire we have heard rustlings in the forest – some of which have been bears, or even mountain lions. But mostly, it’s just our imaginations. Yet, not knowing what lies beyond the light of our campfire makes the forest a mysterious place, and a place that commands our utmost respect at night.
Thinking about our Sequoia cabin in the woods is always a good way for me to gain perspective about today’s difficult realities. These woods have existed for thousands of years, and will continue to exist no matter the human crises that roil our daily lives. It has withstood many calamites: fires, avalanches, human deforestation, drought. But it has always survived, and come back even stronger, greener, more alive that it was before. That is what I hope for us. That is what I think the forest is telling us. Just like the Giant Sequoias, we must be tried by fire to cleanse and regenerate our little planet, so that we can become stronger, and more alive than we ever thought possible.