In 1967 my parents bought a lakeshore lot near my grandparents’ cabin on Park Lake in Mahtowa, Minn. Over the next few years they built the cabin that I now share with my three brothers and our families. Five generations have enjoyed languid summer days and family bonding at our getaway.

In the pandemic summer of 2020, we were particularly eager to escape to the lake. When the virus prevented our customary communal living, our households tag-teamed instead. Sometimes one family was still packing to leave as another rolled down the drive. Our visits spilled from weekends into the weekdays, filling the calendar. All that extra cabin time translated into a burst of improvement projects; rarely has the property been lavished with such a concentrated infusion of tender loving care.

And, though we missed convening as an extended family, rarely have we savored the simple pleasures of cabin life so intensely. Each s’more at the firepit, sunset pontoon cruise, basket of sunfish, loon call, and stack of blueberry pancakes was a singular moment when the rest of the world was forgotten. In the lake air we removed our masks, inhaled, and laughed. For a precious spell, life felt normal. Mary Dee Hicks, edina