Up and Down the Mountain

Last week was the occasion of a blessed excursion to my family’s mountain cabin, and this time I shared the time with my dear friend Mrs. Bread.

I’ve blogged about the cabin and lake before, here and here. The last two years I went mostly for time alone with God in His Creation. This time I enjoyed plenty of that experience, plus deepening of friendship, and working on improving or maintaining the house and property. Now that my father has passed, I am part owner of this place, and I happily but more intensely feel the responsibility to do my part, though I’m afraid I’ll never match the hardworking devotion of my siblings who live closer; some of them can dash up just for the day if they need to.

Here I am painting the threshold and doorjamb against the elements of winter. One year–or maybe more than one–the whole cabin was buried in snow, just a lump in the white landscape.

The drive took me ten hours, what with a leisurely detour to pick up Mrs. Bread on the way. So we stayed four nights so as to have three whole days for taking pictures, cooking, reading together, cleaning, admiring giant boulders and listening to the silence of the forest.

How can it be so awe-fully quiet? There are birds flitting and chipmunks scampering, breezes blowing and even the occasional chain saw in the village. But the earth feels peacefully serene up there, weighted with quiet, heavy with a silence that speaks of God’s presence. I seem to soak up contentedness and rest.

I needed the rest, as I had come down with a cough and cold in the two days before. The altitude gave me a headache the first night, and we both suffered from the reduced oxygen, our legs uncooperative and slow when we dragged back up the hill after a walk down to the lake.

It’s the High Sierra, and up there the mornings start out below freezing this time of year, making you want to lie abed and watch the sky lighten out the window. By midday it can be sunburning hot out on the deck, so we sat in the shade of the umbrella to peruse the several tree guides that have found their way to the cabin’s bookshelf.

At first we limited ourselves to studying the general shapes and angles of branches, focusing in on the cones with binoculars. Eventually we walked among the trees below the cabin and noticed where cones had fallen underneath their mother trees.

The pines in the neighborhood are mostly Lodgepole, as illustrated by the picture here. But to be truthful, it took Pippin’s later confirmation of that suspicion to make me believe it.

As we walked together marveling at the various beautiful flowers, berries, and stones, Mrs. Bread said, “These little trees grab at my heart!” See why I love her?

  

 

What a lot can be seen in this photograph, taken from outside the picture window, while I was sitting at the table inside writing a letter to a grandson. You can see the kitchen behind me, and the lake reflected behind Mrs. Bread’s reflection.

I like having these pictures of myself at the lake, something besides the ones of my feet that I took last year when solitary. Thanks, my friend!

These three trees stood out from the pines with their trunks shown off by the granite slabs.  Mr. Glad thinks they might be red cedars.

The first morning at the cabin I read in the Psalter, “For Thou hast said: Mercy shall be built up for ever,” (Ps. 88) and was musing about the image that phrase conjured in my mind, of an edifice being constructed. And why not the image of towers of clouds, that often rain down showers of blessing? From now on, when I see cloud skyscrapers rising fast, piling layer upon layer, I will think of the way God’s mercies do the same, every morning.
Someone brought this small remembrance of our father up to put on the bedroom wall. If you click on it a couple of times you can read the labels. I love seeing my father’s handwriting, which didn’t change in all the years since this collection was made when he was in college.

Mrs. Bread helped me firm up my resolve to try really hard to come up to this beloved place more next year. It’s not available for very long, though: This week shutters will be put up, water turned off, chimney covered, to mention only a few of the many tasks to protect the house from blizzards–and if we can get through the snow to open it up before the first of July we’ll be happy.

I’ve never been up more than twice in a summer; I wonder if I really do have the liberty to even dream of spending a week, or visiting twice or three times. I’ll pray for a miracle, and wait to see how the Lord chooses to pile up His mercies next year.

16 thoughts on “Up and Down the Mountain

  1. What a blessing this sanctuary is to you and your family, and to the memory of your father. It sounds very special and I hope you are able to spend more time here in the future. It looks so serene and peaceful. Ahhhhh…….I long for such a time away for the daily hub bub.

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  2. I love the picture of you with the wide brim hat…painting. And the butterfly box with your father's handwriting for labels…so beautiful. Your friend sounds like a great person to spend time with…appreciating all the simple wonders of nature.

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  3. Well, since the cabin is only available from early July to end of September, and the drive is SO long — perhaps instead of multiple trips, you should go for an extended stay one summer — like a month or 6 weeks. Really move in. That's what I'd be tempted to do, if it were possible.

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  4. I am “awe-fully” glad we got to go…I am thinking of posting my journal writing from our mountain time on my write purpose blog. Just sorting and posting a few of the pictures I took was all I could do thus far. I found that the 1908 tree book was republished and I am thinking of buying a used copy. The California Orange label book I also found and have already sent for a copy.

    This remembrance of your experience is lovely.

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  5. I love the pine cones. Did you take some back home for a fall and winter decorating? I like natural things best. I wondered if you had ever had a wintertime gathering up at your cabin?

    Beautiful remembrances and pictures.

    Jody

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  6. As to a wintertime gathering, Jody, it's pretty much snowed in. People do ride their snowmobiles back in there to take pictures, which is how we know that the cabin has been buried out of sight sometimes. If you got in, you'd have to carry shovels, and somehow take off all the shutters…You'd have no water, and couldn't have a fire because the chimney has been plugged up. By the middle of October we just say good-bye until late Spring!

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