It almost didn't happen, this quick little trip of ours to "camp". Finding farm care, Irene and her poor timing, melting freezers, book orders to ship, gloomy forecasts and a whole host of other life hassles/blessings got in the way, to make it almost the first year in thirty that I haven't been to my familys cabin tucked away on a quiet lake in the woods of DownEast Maine.
But we did it. Once we got the a-ok from the farm sitter, we left just as fast as we could, really. I tossed everyone a backpack in the morning with a shout of "one long sleeved shirt, one short sleeved shirt, a pair of shorts, a pair of pants, a bathing suit, a book and your toothbrush!" I hoped they'd manage to pack at least some of what I asked, (which they did....more or less. What two year old really needs a swimsuit?). While they packed, I headed to the garden to grab whatever was ready to harvest, stopped at the freezer, added some olive oil and a cast iron pan from the kitchen and decided we'd make do. This was no time for lists, no time for any more preparation. We all wanted to be at camp, and we wanted to be there NOW.
Did I mention this was the first time we've been away from the farm? (I don't think hospital visits should count.) It was. It was just what we all needed a little bit of...
We all wish that we could get there more. And yet, because it is what it is, I look on the bright side. Because there's something really magical about visiting a place just once, twice, three times a year when we're lucky. It becomes a most wonderful measure of time, family and growth.
Remember last year when you jumped off the dock for the very first time? Remember the stormy night the kids slept through the night while the tent filled up with water? Remember when Dad broke the gas lantern coming back from the late-night walk? Remember the time the bears found (and drank) the beer we had cooling in the spring? Remember Rock Beach? Treasure Island? Troll Rock? Pirate Butt? (yup).
We remember. Every spot has a name. And each spot, a story. From my childhood, from theirs. And maybe from their children's, too? I hope so.
We come home refreshed and rejuvinated from breathing the fresh air of wilderness and togetherness. Family and tradition. And we all look forward to the next time. Whenever that may be.