During their travels to Sweden years ago, my in-laws discovered a treasure at the cottage of a distant relative. It was their name for the hideaway: Strawberry Place.
In my mind, the connotations of this phrasing were lovely to consider. They fit well for our cabin. Owned by my in-laws, this little blue dwelling occasionally offers up some wild strawberries. Between patches of grass and sand. Nestled into the earth hugging the exterior. Escaping the lawn mower that is run only infrequently. The strawberries have time and opportunity to lazily grow here. We do, too.
We stretch out, breathe deeply, relax our shoulders. We casually piece together puzzles, read or nap. It seems we are always eating at the cabin, rounding out each meal with a plate of cookies. Rules and bedtimes don’t apply on cabin time, though sleep comes easily after days of fresh air.
This cabin has much to teach us. We let down our guard during our stays and soak in the lessons.
On hospitality: My in-laws willingly pass out keys to a number of relatives and take reservations for open weekends or weeks. They want the cabin to be used and enjoyed. On family weekends, particularly the 4th of July, there is always room for one more. This is true even when the rooms are full and finding one’s way to the tiny bathroom in the middle of the night involves stepping around sleeping bodies sprawled out on air mattresses and foldout couches.
On doing nothing: Setting aside our to-do lists and technology, we don’t worry about being productive at the cabin. While needed repairs are made, other changes and improvements to the cabin are slow to come. They require months, if not years, of contemplation. Perhaps we should build a storage/trundle bed for the front room. Yes, perhaps. Let’s think about that over another cup of coffee, and did you know there are still some brownies left?
On the nature of time: My husband was 14 when his parents bought the cabin. Our oldest daughter has already passed that age. Every year, I calculate how many years in a row I have been blessed to stand on that creaking dock or cast a line in pursuit of a big bass. Over half my lifetime already. I spent entire seasons chasing and following our girls, worrying they would fall into the lake or stumble into the fire. Those years have slipped by. The girls have grown taller, our lines deeper. Still, not much has changed at the cabin. There is something so comforting about that.
When the ice finally goes out, we’ll head back to the Strawberry Place. I wonder if we’ll find any berries this year.
Cathy Broberg, LINO LAKES