Cabin Time

It is done. I write this on the penultimate day with only myself and my partner left to slowly but surely clean up after over twenty loved ones have come and gone. The beds have been stripped and laundry is running, dishes are clean and put away, food has been eaten, packed or thrown away, and only the last tasks of retrieving items left at the dock, cleaning the floors, and locking up are left. It is quiet, save for the whine of the drier and the sounds of my partner puttering through a myriad of little tidying tasks that aren’t exactly necessary but add that homey touch. The sun is out, slanting through fluffy white clouds rolling over the treetops. I’ll have to change into cooler clothes soon as the day heats up and my casual sweats and calf length boots get too warm.

My time here has been long and interesting. On day one we drove out from Seattle, I settled sleepily in the passenger seat, he speeding along to the tune of NPR and The Splendid Table. We settled in, unpacked, and set to work. I was not happy.

My first mental shift happened on day three. Driving out, I got into vacation mode. I was ready to sit back, drink some wine, read my book, and relax. Unfortunately, there were too many tasks needed to make the place pleasant for me to simply settle in quietly. There were flower beds to be weeded, holes to be patched, gutters to be cleaned, floors to be swept, and a dock to repair. I felt cheated, like I had worked hard, made money, and earned my vacation but here was more work I had to do! I moped and pouted as he ran around getting things done and in my feelings of being slighted, sniped at him spitefully. We went into town for some last minute errand running and the whole time I felt like I deserved something easier. Instead of the cool and clean communication we usually enjoy, I was passive aggressive and opaque. This started when we arrived, continued through day two and didn’t disappeared until the morning of day three. I woke up and decided to do some yoga. I have little book and went through the beginner poses for about an hour and by the time I was done, it was only 11 in the morning and I already felt accomplished. It felt natural to weed the flower beds while he sprayed sealant on the gutters and mixed cement for the patio. We chatted and listened to the radio and, though I was physically working, it felt easy. I scattered flower seeds under dark soil and watered the newly turned beds. I swept and raked and weeded the downstairs patio, removing the accumulated pine needles and leaves of the last year and yanking tufts of grass from the cracks. I finished it off with a few deck chairs and felt good and proud, like I often do after a session in which my skills clearly show. I had shifted from grumpy mode into cabin time.

Cabin time is an interesting phenomenon. You sleep when you’re sleepy, eat when the food is ready, fish for however long you want, drink slowly, chat lazily, move or sit still for as long as it feels right, and listen to the natural rhythms of your own internal switches. There are few clocks around here and even then we don’t pay close attention. The funny thing is, your body sets a much better time than you set by a clock. Alarms, deadlines, timetables, check in-check out, hurry hurry hurry all stresses your body so when you wake up, you’re tired and when you go to bed you can’t fall asleep. Out here, you just stay up talking until you feel sleepy and you wake up when you have to pee. I was up by nine or ten most days, except this morning because I stayed up until 1:30 talking about sex work and libertarianism (with friends who don’t know about my true profession, so even cooler than usual). Cabin time means giving your body the time it needs to reset and do what it needs to do.

So I was on cabin time, relaxing into tasks, constantly moving until my body is ready to stop. Now our friends began arriving. A few from our local watering hole, a few from my college days, and the next day my brother and his budding family. Tents started popping up and beds filled, couches got rearranged, people started mingling.

I got to spend some quality time with my brother’s new girlfriend. She and I are closer in ideology than she and my brother but his extreme sanguinity means that as long as they agree on the important parts, which they seem to, they should be alright. I played with my nephew for hours. We tossed a ball and chased each other around and I had the satisfaction of giving my brother some much needed time off. I also had a bit of a very powerful brownie provided by one of my beloved clients that made me laugh at the things a four year old laughs at which helped. I had brunch with my old college friends who joked about boners and bought pies to share with the group. We walked and chatted and renewed bonds several years removed. My mother spent a night, sharing a bit of time with her son, possible future daughter in law, and grandson and a lot of time with me and my friends. Who knew I could bond with my mother over a dump run, haha! I am more and more reaching a mutual respect with both my parents. I think the day is coming In a year or so from now that I can talk with both of them plainly about my profession and my passions. His brother came by with a five year old so once again I took over babysitting duties. We frolicked in the lake, getting on and off all the floating creations we use to entertain and support ourselves and exchanging a constant stream of dialogue. My mother chimed in “I would have more sympathy for you but you did it to yourself.” I think she also saw an echo of my own constant chatter in this curious child and it amused her to see me treading her own path 22 years ago, even for only an afternoon.

People began to trickle away. Flights departed, cars disappeared into the woods, and slowly the cabin emptied until today, when it is just Us again. I’m looking forward to when the work is done and we can look at this place with pride as we ourselves vanish back to the city. I will miss it. I will always miss it as a busy, relaxing, healing respite from the routine of busses and bodywork, missed connections and gridlock. It’s been three years since the first time I came out to The Cabin and I finally feel what he feels for it. This is home. This is a place where family fights, friends love, you work and relax with equal vigor, and the more sweat that goes in the more love comes out.

Rose has been watching my inbox for me; I’ve checked in now and again just to stay abreast of what is happening but for days at a time I’ve not looked at or for my phone. I think this is the final step in my disconnection. While I use my digital connection to the world for many things, it will no longer be a tether. I have shed the need to constantly check in, knowing that my world, generally, will take care of itself.

My moods and opinions, influenced by my time here with loved ones and finally negating the bitter input from TNA and some Twitter feeds, have swung once more towards faith in humanity’s general goodness and, while I am aware of the constant violence that rocks our modern world, I am not afraid. People die, the world changes, and sometimes it is rough but come what may, humanity will always live and most people, many people, are good and decent. I will continue to hold myself, my friends, and my clients to a higher standard of thought and behavior and I will continue to campaign for our right to mingle and entertain each other.

So here’s a glass of your beverage of choice, raised to good friends, the good of humanity, and cabin time