Our adult children might not come home for an extended stay, but we do know they'll be at the cabin this summer for as long as they can. There will be dear family and friends, too, including the four-legged variety. All are welcome and usually ready to help themselves, jockeying to arrive early to secure a bedroom.

We've been making the trip to our old rustic cabin since we were born. Our great-grandfather bought the piece of land in 1904 when he was surveying to build a short-line railroad through northwestern Wisconsin. Whatever caught his attention — the majestic white and Norway pines that missed being lumbered, the pristine lake and air — it's hard to say. Whatever it was, it caught us as well — a bug or cabin fever for what may be a labor of love, money pit and/or woodland legacy.

The lake is a place to reconnect with the beauty of nature and to each other. Where else can you briskly towel off after an exuberant swim, only to be drenched again by the shake of a furry friend or splash of a water-happy youth? A search for the family hammock follows for a peaceful spot to read, nap or contemplate life or the trees above. The kids usually overtake it, laughing and roughhousing, until one or all are brushing off pine needles and checking for scraped knees. The dogs find it a good back-scratcher and excellent way to continue the drying process, much to the chagrin of the one relaxing.

We've shared more joys than tears throughout our time at the lake. We've traveled the same worn paths and added new ones. Some of our favorite people and animals have found their earthly rest here, and so it goes. An eagle circles overhead for the next generation to enjoy.

Deb Hudak, Minneapolis