The weather forecast showed a significant chance of rain. We tossed around the idea of staying home, but in the end we chose to go regardless. We don’t go to Mark’s parents’ cabin nearly often enough. We need to go more often, not just for R&R but because lake properties require upkeep. Much of the work falls on Mark’s younger brother because he’s able to go more often. We have to pitch in when we’re available. And besides, rain or not, I needed to get away from this house.
Saturday morning arrived with sunshine at home. The forecast for “the cities” was very summer-like and we knew we were heading for less-than-favorable weather conditions for our long holiday weekend. We were packed and we were going. Kacey and Connor were coming with. Mark’s parents were going to be going too, as was his younger brother and family. We hit the road at eight o’clock that morning.
On the road, we saw signs that the summer vacation season had arrived. While we traveled, we were joined by all makes and sizes of campers and SUVs packed full with the fixings for a weekend away.We rode behind trailers hauling boats so big we couldn’t see the vehicles that towed them along the highway. And by the time we got to Hinckley which is still an hour away from the cabin, rain began to fall. Along the way we saw evidence of the rain that had fallen in the past few days. The distance between houses grew longer and my gaze lingered on the long driveways between those homes and the highways. Many of the driveways were under water in places. Ponds stretched well beyond their obvious normal boundaries.
We were the first to arrive. We unpacked our stuff and emptied the contents of the cooler into the refrigerator. We relaxed in the living room and watched a movie while we waited for the others. We had lunch before anyone else showed up. And when they finally arrived, the cabin came to life. The nieces and nephew were excited to see Kacey and Connor. They didn’t care about the rain which continued to fall all day on Saturday. The water was rising to meet the dock that the guys just put in last weekend. Mark and Steve stood on it with hands on hips and debated. The rain let up for a while and soon the two of them and Connor were in the water. Mark and Steve wore chest waders. Connor wore a pair of shorts and braved the not-very-beach-like temperatures. With tools in hand, they raised the dock up another notch on its posts.
Have I mentioned the mud? Oh my, the MUD! The cabin is surrounded by tall, old trees that provide so much cover that the grass only grows sparsely. You can imagine what an abundance of water does to the yard and the long driveway. Three year-old Ryan, running around with his new-found playmates from the cabin next door was soon covered in it.
Saturday night we fell asleep to the sound of rain pouring down on the cabin roof.
The sun came out Sunday around noon and stayed for a good part of the day. The kids fished and played in the mud. The water in the lake rose again. Mark and Steve hauled two-by-fours and tools down to the dock and nailed the dock sections together with the boards to keep the sections from pulling apart under the pressure of such high water. Sunday night we played cards and watched the rain come down again in sheets. We fell asleep again to the patter of raindrops on the roof. They lulled me to sleep when I climbed into bed around midnight and I don’t remember hearing the storm let up before I drifted off. On Monday I awoke to sunshine and a thick layer of fog covering the lake.
It wasn’t quite the weekend I’d wished for. I had hoped there might be a boat ride or a chance to sit on the dock and soak up the sun or even sit on the deck and watch the goings-on out on the lake. I thought I might take Lucy out exploring. The rain and the mud prevented most of those things. But it wasn’t all for naught. The cabin is truly a cabin. It’s not a lake home. It’s a small, old place with a mish-mash of furniture. There isn’t a lot of physical space, but there are places for many to sleep. There’s a big, old table where we all eat together, a hand-me-down from Mark’s great grandparents’ farm. Preparing meals is so much more enjoyable when it’s a team effort, as is the clean-up afterwards. There are old books and toys and games that seem inviting simply because they’re different from what is at home. And there are playing cards. We always play May I. I remember trying to learn this Rummy game over twenty years ago and thinking I’d never keep it all straight. Now I’m a force to be reckoned with and Connor is quickly learning to compete.
At the cabin, I can watch movies without guilt that some other chore should be getting done. I can read to my heart’s content. I can stay up late and I can sleep late. (This is a good thing. Mark’s family members are night owls and late sleepers anyway. Anyone up before eight o’clock best get out the door and down to the dock to catch Sunnies and Perch while waiting for the rest of the family to greet the day.)
We didn’t get to swim or go for long walks. We didn’t get to go for boat rides. But I got to play with the cutest three year-old I know. We took a ride around the lake and looked at docks under water and waved at other weekenders who were doing their best to enjoy the weekend in spite of the weather. We visited the dam to see how high the water was, officially. We walked around a bit and enjoyed the window of sunshine that Sunday brought with it. I got to enjoy family and live simpler for a few days. When we left on Monday morning the sun was shining, but we heard that thunderstorms came around again not long after we pointed the truck back toward home. And it was good to get home to the sunshine and let our feet dry out again.