Cabin Fever

Like many other Minnesotans, "going up to the cabin" is an important part of summer for us (interesting anthropological note — I never really knew why cabins were so important in Minnesota, until I found out that, in Scandinavia, it is very common to have a cabin retreat, even if it's a relatively modest one. Here in the Land of 10,000 Lakes, we simply replicate the tradition, and almost always place it on the water).

In our case, "the cabin" was built by my grandmother's family in Lake Osakis in 1902. Originally a log cabin surrounded by a screen porch on 3 sides, the porch was enclosed by salmon-pink siding the in the 1950s, and a full kitchen and bathroom added. It's changed somewhat since then, but not much. There's a lot of tradition behind the orange logs, and the psychiatrist's couch, and the Murphy beds).

The area, however, has changed a lot. When I was growing up, our family members (my grandmother's cousins) owned several other places along the point. Dottie Lindberg owned the farmhouse next door, and a sprawling acreage along the full other side of the point, with cabins for rent. A big, falling-down barn sat at the end of the lane. In the last 25 years, much has changed. Dottie died, and her land was subdivided into several large lots, with a full road going through. One family bought the point land and built a big compound, and our relatives all sold off their places. Even my mom sold her half to my aunt and uncle.

However, they are generous enough to let us go up several times a summer, and in many ways, life for Beatrix is exactly as my summers were. She plays in the water, catches frogs in buckets, talks to the neighbors and plays with their dogs, eats M&M pancakes, spreads out the farm set on the floor, sleeps under the "horsey" blanket, makes s'mores, and generally loves the place with a fierce passion.

And we love it too. But this morning (afar a long weekend of dealing with pump problems and a "we're -not-out-of-the-woods-yet" emergency with the dog ingesting mouse poison), I realized that, almost 47 years in, I have finally stopped loving the cabin like a child, and started enjoying it like an adult. It made me feel closer to my mother, and her love of the place, and made it even more precious to me. It's a pretty amazing change of view.


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