Tag Archives: gooseberries

Lake, stream, and mice.

DAY 5: This will be our last full day at the lake. Mark and Jennie have already left their nearby camp, which leaves the six of us to plan for. I take a long walk in the morning and meet Tom, a man who spends the whole summer up here. “Mine is the black cabin,” he says. He is in his mid-80’s, and knew my father. He takes his canoe out every morning, all by himself, because his wife died only a few months ago. I think when I come next summer I’ll go look for him at his black cabin with a picture of quail on the sign.

I also check out the little library in a cabinet, but don’t find anything up my alley. Certainly I don’t need more books up here anyway – I’ve made small progress in the ones I brought.

wild gooseberry

I admire buttercups, and eat a couple of gooseberries as I head down to look at the lake, then hike steeply about 200 yards back to our cabin. There is time to read from The Complete Brambly Hedge to the children before lunch, one of the dozen books I brought from my shelves to share with them. We are already familiar with Jill Barklem’s charming stories and the detailed drawings which we study carefully to extract more knowledge about the families of darling anthropomorphized mice.

Then we all head to the lake, even Jamie. His father keeps him lakeside while Pippin, Scout, Ivy and I head out in the canoe for the special spot they found yesterday, an inlet on the other side of the lake where the water cascades over slabs and boulders and sand of granite in a myriad of gorgeous colors. We all enjoy walking up big rock steps through the stream, or along the same slopes that Scout gleefully slides down on his bottom into little pools, where the water is surprisingly temperate.

Me with Scout and Ivy

On return, the Pippin clan all five go in the canoe for a brief outing, while I try out the kayak for my first time. It’s quite fun!

My first voyage

Scout tries paddling the canoe with his mother – then we stow all the paddles and life preservers and kayak seat into the van and return to the cabin so that Scout and his parents can fit in one more Sierra Nevada experience: climbing a dome, just the “little” one behind the cabin. I stay with the younger children and trim green beans from my garden to steam for dinner.

Just before I climb into bed, a mouse runs through my bedroom!

lupine seed pods

 

The next day’s entry is HERE.

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!

P1030772

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.