Pine Trail

The cabin was bought fully furnished from an elderly couple who left behind what would now be considered valuable antiques. Two small bedrooms replete with horsehair beds, a combination Glenwood wood/kerosene kitchen stove; round golden oak drop-leaf table poised beneath a large section of windowpanes overlooking a screened-in porch, curved-glass china cabinet. Depression era dishes were stacked on open kitchen shelves; warm woolen bedding, cotton sheets and quilts were folded neatly in open wooden cupboards. The bathroom was small but serviceable, thick rectangle of well-worn mirror hung with clear plastic art nouveau style clips; a metal stall shower with grommeted cotton curtain. A small porcelain corner sink with a metal corner shelf poised above. Perched atop the buttermilk painted wooden cabinet lay a matched set of the palest yellow and green celluloid brush, comb, hand mirror.

The sofa was circa 1940 and a lovely light shade of rose with carved cherry wood feet and armrest ends. An upholstered wing-back chair; braided oval rug. If you visited your grandparents and grew up in the 50’s like I did, you’d know how the place smelled musty with wool and mothballs, how items were carefully handled, stowed, preserved. Pots were aluminum, mixing bowls a glazed Pyrex glass. Even the silverware begged to be used like the round aluminum biscuit cutter with black wooden knob handle. The serrated bread knife remains with me still, unlike stamped tin baking pans and the round plastic black and white kitchen timer. A yellowing if accurate electric wall clock was likewise lost somewhere along the way.

Every morning except in winter, I woke to the lilting cry of loons and stumbled out to sun winking through white pine and hemlock as it rose over the cabin, shedding splintered light on the mountains defining the other side of the narrows. Every evening around four, the sun began its descent behind those same hills and the evenings cooled some ten degrees to accommodate comfortable sleeping. Then out to the small porch where I’d banked a single bed on a metal frame against the logs of the outer cabin wall and loaded it with several pillows as backrests. It was there I sat, sublime and attentive in the flickering candlelight. Senses tuned to waves gently lapping rocky shoreline; birds ruffling feathers as night descended with a familiar finality.

Then the moon rose over the water as shafts of light bounced and shimmied and fanned its calming surface, while a billion stars flickered overhead like carefully constrained fireworks seeding themselves in the inky infinity of the heavens.

Version 2

20 thoughts on “Pine Trail

  1. reminds me of that saying, These are the good ol’ days.
    each space holds a magic if we will engage it. of course, that can seem a lot easier with less human distraction!
    as a techy by the way, this feels like an enticing fragment of a larger piece of work.

    1. Yes, though those particular days were pretty fraught as well. I was married to a gender confused man who also, come to find out, had major substance abuse and anger issues. I so loved that little cabin, but I walked away with nothing to save my life, in the end. So although it would make an interesting story, it’s not at all a time I wish to revisit in memory long enough to record the details. Intriguing as they might be to the reader’s eye. I didn’t get where I am now by having an easy time then, unfortunately. But I’m so glad for my life today! Aloha, dear weaver. 😘 And thanks.

      1. yes, of course. and so often the case: ‘I didn’t get where I am now by having an easy time then, unfortunately. But I’m so glad for my life today! ‘ i imagine a lot of people are glad for who you are today. πŸ™‚

    1. I don’t. The first time I left Maine for Hawaii 25 or so years ago, I missed it with an ache that was awful. I missed the birch trees, fresh water and wildlife. I even missed gray days! This time the transition was different, and it really felt like a chapter was closing for good. We still have a bit of land that we’re still trying to sell on that beautiful lake side, and it will sell when it will. The kids don’t want it either, their lives are on the West Coast and beyond. But I do look upon my 32 years there with great fondness. Aloha Eliza. 😘

  2. I have a sort of irrational affection for the 50s, some misplaced notion that it was a better time; though I don’t think it’s mere sentimentality, or not wholly so. I think it was more optimistic; wasn’t that the spirit of the moment, the zeitgeist? Anyway, I love 50s abstract art β€” paintings and ceramics. Beautifully wrought prose, dear Bela, and startlingly evocative, too. Love and best wishes, Hariod. ❀

    1. I do think the 50’s were simpler times in some ways. But for some, in our country anyway, they were perilous times. The Civil Rights Movement had only just begun and women were very much ‘kept in their place’ as well, which was in the home. Lynchings were still all too common. There were no systems in place for abused women and children. Since I was only born in that decade, I cannot speak to much of it, though I do remember the ‘feel’ of our neighborhood, the women dressed up inside the house with angry post-war husbands and no careers; huge families and the pervasiveness of alcohol, canned goods and cigarettes. And deep, dark secrets.

      My time on this lake was in the seventies – This photo was taken in the fall of 1976 when I was in my early 20’s. No kids, no visions of any future, still new enough to the Maine woods (where I moved in 1971) and out of the insanity of Southern California. I have never lost affection for this part of the world, it just became progressively more developed and winters began changing from mostly snow to ice storms and radical temperature swings. Hard then to maintain 1/2 mile of dirt road – at that point I had relocated from the lake you see in the photo to another east of it – less populated, but also more difficult to access, year-round.

      Time marches on, but I do believe things just become more complicated, along with too much, too many, everything just on/on/on. No off-switch, save in places we have been fortunate enough to live. Still, one must venture forth to town, and even here in the middle of the Pacific ocean, that requires a bit of a mindset.

      Aloha, dear one, hope you have a peaceful weekend! ❀

      1. Oh, of course, yes, one likes to think there has been good social progress made in the past sixty odd years. But then we take our eyes off the ball and bang, we have a neo-fascistic zeitgeist sweeping it away, a great retardation of social liberalisation, as expressed in the minds and actions of the credulous many. I’m not pointing to the electorate of the States alone for this lack of attention, the problem exists on continental Europe too. I’m still keeping watch on what’s happening down south on Big Island; is everyone preoccupied with it daily, even in the north? H ❀

      2. Hey, point away! You would be accurate. We continue to be stunned.

        As for the lava flow, I check into Hawaii Tracker every morning to see how far it has advanced, if I am here at home. Other than that, not so much. We live with a live volcano here, so it was not If but When it would erupt again. There are those of us who think it was irresponsible of the county to have released that land for sale to begin with. Greed most likely was the culprit. And we’re back to the corruption of the powers that be. 😘

  3. Lovely memories Bela…nostalgia takes us down the alleys we don’t want to forget, whatever emotions they may evoke as some lanes remind us how naive we were! Thanks for sharing.

    1. And you are right about naivete …yet at the time, one can be relatively self assured. Still, there life is, always reminding us how much there is to learn. Even now! 😘 Thanks, Balroop!

  4. Your words weave a spell to all of who read.. As we look back within your mind to the things within that time you cherished.. Its strange isn’t it how we hold such vivid memory of items, that have long gone, but they bring comfort of a time perhaps where we needed that comfort to enfold us.
    And often there was nothing so special in them, except our mind captures them like prisoners, not wanting to let such moments go. While others we all to readily want to forget..

    I loved your descriptive story of the Pine trail and that cabin Bela.. And loved that photo of you..
    We often think somehow the ‘old days’ were somehow better.. I doubt they were, but we hold on to the simplicity it perhaps was back then..
    Today society wants everything new, and put themselves under huge pressures and debt to obtain it. While we were content with second hand..

    I think often our muses within the mind want to take us back to those simple days of BEing, without the Emotional baggage we often carry.. Yet in truth, even back then, we would not say life was simple or without its trauma.. We somehow just carried on.. BEing..

    Its only in looking back we see how far we have come.. And what really matters in life..
    In truth if I look back upon my own life, I feel I would want to change the hurt.. but even that, shapes us, makes us who we are today..
    Which in a way is why we write, and we escape into Nature.. As we all have our Pine Trails of Memories.

    Just beautiful Bela.. I was walking in that Cabin with you.. ❀ ❀ ❀

  5. Nostalgic descriptions, Bela. Brought back some memories of a family cabin we often stayed at on Whidbey Island in the early 70’s. I especially love the thought of sitting on the porch, gazing out on the lake. We poets could be quite dreamy at times…. Lovely writing, as always. ❀️

    1. Glad you felt at home, Lorrie! πŸ˜‰ Those were bucolic times, for sure. In a place I never thought to leave. But here we are today in the land of volcanoes and loving it. Same country life, same connection with Mother Nature! β€οΈπŸŒ‹πŸŒ΄πŸŒΊ

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