Cabin Country: A Southerner catches the spirit

  • Updated: March 13, 2014 - 11:55 AM
hide

Coskran shoveled snow from the cabin’s roof in 1975.

It was 26 below the first time I saw the pine-paneled cabin with the pump on the porch and outhouse out back. New Year’s Eve, 1967. I’d come to Minnesota to meet his parents — we were getting married three weeks later in Atlanta — and we headed for the cabin as soon as I arrived.

I’d never seen anything like it: five-foot snowdrifts, plowed ice roads connecting a sprawling village of fish houses on the lake. To the amazement of my soon-to-be mother-in-law, I ran outside in my bathrobe and slippers the first morning just to see what 26 below felt like.

That cabin is now our cabin and our children’s cabin, two renovations and two generations later. My husband’s parents added the kitchen and bathroom in 1974, just before his father died. Our family of five — six with Grandma and her dog Dixie — spent many weeks and weekends there fishing year-round, swimming in the summer, skiing and snowshoeing in the winter, always with card games far into the night.

The family grew. Our three children married and had children. Now there are 14 of us. The year after Grandma died, we expanded yet again, adding two bedrooms, a loft, two-story windows that expand the view of the now-diminished fish house village. The snowdrifts this winter are more dramatic than ever, we nearly hit 26 below again, and our grandchildren hollowed out snow caves and tunnels illuminated by candles just as their parents once did.

It’s quiet. It’s beautiful. It’s still, unless the wind is up, and then it’s thrilling. The white-breasted nuthatch and the black-capped chickadee know our bird feeders. The hairy, downy and pileated woodpeckers like our choice of suet — as does the pesky red squirrel. The cabin is still a place for games, fishing and skiing. It is also a place for putting another log on the fire and reading.

Nine years ago I began inviting writers and artists to the cabin for a week of uninterrupted work during January. Four of us at a time, in our separate bedrooms with designated workspace, write and draw and read and think. We pull down the cone of silence during the day, and each works alone on whatever calls. One of us cooks for the group at night, and we talk about our day, share a bit of what we’ve done. We call it an Art Colony. In the summer my husband and I do a weeklong camp with our grandchildren and even my brother’s grandchildren from Georgia.

My husband’s parents left a legacy when they bought that three-room cabin in 1963, a gift to their children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and the more than 30 writers and artists who have spent a peaceful week there. I don’t think they knew the phrase “pay it forward,” but that is what they did 50 years ago — and it is still giving.

Kathleen Coskran, MINNEAPOLIS



  • related content

  • Snow angels decorated the cabin’s lawn in 2013, following a dramatic renovation.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

Click here to send us your hunting or fishing photos – and to see what others are showing off from around the region.

ADVERTISEMENT

Atlanta - WP: A. Harang 11 FINAL
Pittsburgh - LP: F. Liriano 3
Houston - WP: J. Fields 7 FINAL
NY Yankees - LP: D. Robertson 4
Seattle - WP: H. Iwakuma 5 FINAL
Philadelphia - LP: A. Burnett 2
Arizona - LP: C. Anderson 1 FINAL
Washington - WP: S. Strasburg 8
LA Angels - WP: J. Smith 4 FINAL
Boston - LP: K. Uehara 3
Detroit - WP: J. Johnson 8 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: G. Balfour 6
Texas - LP: N. Cotts 3 FINAL
Miami - WP: S. Dyson 4
San Francisco 0 Delayed
Chicago Cubs 2
Baltimore - WP: C. Tillman 5 FINAL
Chicago WSox - LP: J. Quintana 1
Cleveland - WP: K. Crockett 7 FINAL
Minnesota - LP: B. Duensing 5
Toronto - LP: J. Happ 1 FINAL
Milwaukee - WP: M. Fiers 6
Cincinnati - LP: J. Hoover 4 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: P. Neshek 5
Kansas City - WP: J. Shields 7 FINAL
Colorado - LP: T. Matzek 4
NY Mets - LP: D. Gee 2 FINAL
Oakland - WP: S. Kazmir 6
San Diego - LP: I. Kennedy 6 FINAL
Los Angeles - WP: K. Correia 8
Pittsburgh 8/21/14 6:30 PM
Philadelphia
Carolina 8/22/14 6:30 PM
New England
NY Giants 8/22/14 6:30 PM
NY Jets
Jacksonville 8/22/14 6:30 PM
Detroit
Oakland 8/22/14 7:00 PM
Green Bay
Chicago 8/22/14 9:00 PM
Seattle
Tampa Bay 8/23/14 3:30 PM
Buffalo
Tennessee 8/23/14 6:00 PM
Atlanta
Dallas 8/23/14 6:00 PM
Miami
Washington 8/23/14 6:30 PM
Baltimore
New Orleans 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Indianapolis
Minnesota 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Kansas City
St. Louis 8/23/14 7:00 PM
Cleveland
Houston 8/23/14 8:00 PM
Denver
San Diego 8/24/14 3:00 PM
San Francisco
Cincinnati 8/24/14 7:00 PM
Arizona
Montreal 8/22/14 7:30 PM
Winnipeg
Toronto 8/23/14 3:00 PM
Edmonton
Calgary 8/24/14 2:00 PM
Ottawa
Saskatchewan 8/24/14 6:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Should the lake where the albino muskie was caught remain a mystery?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close