Only the deer can tell you the whole story about the place Up North we call the Cabin.

We’re on Little Bear Lake in northwestern Wisconsin, but the bears stay away. It’s the deer who call the place home and keep an eye on things when we’re gone.

We first stepped into their picture postcard in the early ’80s when my newly graduated husband handed over his life’s savings in exchange for an acre of land, and his buddy bought the lot next door. Then came tents and a little blue pop-up camper.

With marriage and babies came a larger camper. We used to wrap the portable crib in mosquito netting at sunset and cross our fingers that the baby would sleep through the night. With more children came the Cabin: one bedroom, one bathroom, sleeping loft and screen porch. A deck overlooking the lake and its breathtaking sunsets set the stage for many a happy happy hour.

Over time, the Cabin has seen bad weather, good friends, distant relatives and one cross-country running team. The youngest of the babies is now in college. And the mosquito netting is a memory — one of many we cheerfully recount whenever we’re together.

Otherwise, not much has changed. The deck remains our happy place. The sunsets take our breath away. And the deer, well, they are still there, too, just at the edge of the woods, keeping an eye on the place.

Julie Desmond, Minneapolis