THE NORTH WOODS
Set on the edge of a lake in the northern wilderness, a much-loved cabin is the place we go every summer to recuperate from the year’s frenzy. We bring pillows, our favorite pajamas and fleece socks, piles of books and periodicals, and, above all else, the determination to avoid the urge to do.
This year is no exception. On the long drive north, we discuss whether or not we’ll take naps like we did the year the temperature soared into the nineties every day. At a minimum, we agree, we’ll be certain to put in twelve-hour nights, heading to bed as soon as the sun slips behind the ridge of pines to the west, leaving a rosy glow behind the canopy.
We arrive late, unpack and settle in quickly, and take a brief walk with the resident dog. Then we head to bed, adding a feather quilt to the pile of blankets and opening the windows to let in the pine-scented air. It’s very dark here, with no glow of city lights or flickering of the neighbors’ motion-detector floodlamps, and as we settle under the covers, darkness calls forth the silence of the place. It’s a still night, with no breeze to filter through the leaves, and we lie still, breathing as quietly as possible, listening for any noise that might break the spell.
The silence is stubborn, and though we anticipate a bird’s call or the crunch of a neighbor’s footstep on the gravel pathway, we hear nothing. Tired from the long day’s drive, and eager to stay true to our pledge, we drift to sleep as the three-quarter moon rises high in the black sky above.