In a peaceful clear of the early evening, a lull in the storm and a break in the clouds, we go down to the Little Cabin, the three of us and Alan, and begin housekeeping. Sweeping up cob webs and chinking knocked from between the old logs during the Big Move. We pull down old shelving and expose the weathered Spruce walls, opening up the past, the present, the future. All at once with such simple motions as running a broom across a log wall. As we clear the past, clean the past, we feel it is ours, and we begin to build a new.
A tiny cabin, only 12×15 feet inside, I suppose. And all the room we need. We need no more. We want no more. We plan a place for everything, and our dreams begin to form to reality as the wood cook stove warms us and the air freshens with the windows opened just wide enough, and the cleaning and clearing expose for us the clean slate, the open canvas that is this little cabin, that is our lives.
We grill our hotdogs outside over coals from burning scraps of wood, and return to the haven of our cabin as the rain returns. Inside, now warm and dry, we roast our marshmallows over the embers of the wood stove; and enjoy our s’mores while listening to the rain beat down on the tin roof, drowning out the roar of the river so near, though we gaze dreamily through the rain streaked window at the raging flow below us.
In our own silence, we sit and listen to this perfect world around us, and the stove continues to warm us as we shed our damp coats. I hear Alan’s heavy and relaxed breath, as he sleeps so completely content on his dog bed beside us. This is when his world is best, like when we work at camp and spend so many nights close together in the tent. His world is simple and safe and right. Everything most important is close at hand. His life does not get better. All that matters most is here.
We understand. We feel the same. Without the pressures of the outside world for as long as we can put that off.
As we begin to talk of plans to build in a kitchen table and bunk beds, we find everything we need can be right here, within these tiny walls. There is no need for more. We have had so much more; it does not bring us what is most important.
I wonder for those who build bigger and bigger and bigger if they are ultimately seeking to find, to feel, that thing which is so hard to find, deep inside, which really can not be built or bought. One house, two house, three houses… and still they can not find it.
The windows now are streaked with rain; the outside world a vague blur. We are closed inside our own little world. It is not the view from the window that brings us this joy, this peace, this contentment. We remember feeling the same zipped inside a tent, or gathered in a hotel room on a road trip together. It is not the mountain which bring us together, brings us this sense of inner harmony. How many count on the land to relieve them of their burden, when what I see is that the burden will follow as the heavy load you create it to be no matter where you are, if that is the bundle you choose to carry. What matters most? Some still don’t know.
Sitting in that cabin, as the rain pours down and the light of the day fades and we chatter away among the three of us, making big plans for such a simple little cabin, we remember what matters most.