That Love

cabin 1.jpg

We actually did it. We sold our cabin.

This is the cabin we had built for us 23 years ago when our three children were small. It was our dream place. The place we could take Kyle for the weekend and it didn’t matter how much noise he made. Our house sits on 3/4’s of an acre and on the edge of the national forest. From that place, his autistic hoots echoed only out into the universe. It was a safe place where our daughters, Rachel and Leah, could play out in nature with more freedom than in the big city.

It’s still beautiful up there. The snow topped Mogollon Rim (long mountain chain ridge) looms in the near distance. The sunsets are still spectacular.  The quiet is still deafening (except for an occasional hoot.)  The stars at night are still bright and plentiful. Bonita Creek is still running and the trail is all crispy leaves, tangled trees and few to no people.  The elk are still hanging around though we haven’t seen one in a really long time. There is still the knowledge that we are walking in the home territory of snakes and  bears though we rarely see them.

Oh yeah, and our driveway still gets washed out. The roof still gets damaged in high winds. And the power still goes out regularly.

As life will have it, we find ourselves with grown kids twenty something years later and not using the cabin very often. Despite the beauty and splendor and level of relaxation we experience up there, we don’t go. I could note a list of reasons but the fact is, the river of life is flowing off in different directions for us and we are riding the current. At least that’s how it looks to me right now. We could try to force it to go otherwise and at times, we have, but it keeps defaulting back to the flow away from our cabin.

In my heart, I know it’s time to move on.

With a lump in our throats, we headed up last Saturday to pack. Memories flowed as we uncovered a few time warps.  Stuff left untouched. Leah was so light she could sit on the top shelf of the linen closet with the door rigged by a string. The string was still hanging there.

Feeling emotional, I sorted items for trash, donation, give to friends, and keep. There weren’t  a lot of keepers.

The memories are the keepers and they are in a place within me.  The stuff is just a trigger.

Throughout the day I felt alternately teary/emotional and then excited/invigorated about moving on to the next phase of our lives. Getting rid of lots of unwanted things, some we didn’t even know we still owned, felt cleansing. The act of making space for what’s next. Preparing to close the door for good on an era that has actually been over for quite awhile.

For me, the big neon insight was that the greatness of life doesn’t live in the stuff. It’s just dusty old stuff which seems very trivial in the scheme of things. Sitting in the built in toy box and pulling the crayons out of the carpet and unfolding the girls’ drawings, I experienced this at a deep level. Kinda seems like a big “duh” when I reflect on it now.

The joy of our times at the cabin was in  BEING with our kids, each other, our friends.

The hikes, the rainstorms, the rainbows

Less distractions. Less demands. More moments.

Paying admission to watch our girls act out a skit with a friend down the road

Building a playhouse down the hill out of random logs. It still stands. Even the roof.

Sledding down the hills

Cuddling together under blankets in the hammock

Hot cocoa on the deck looking up at the stars

No phones to answer pre cell phone days

Reading story books and listening to vinyl records before vinyl was “in”. No electronics or even TV as competition


What a poignant reminder that all we really have is now.

Right now.

Me, sitting at the computer out on my patio as my dog basks in the sunshine. Me, allowing inspiration to flow through me and on to the page.

I can’t go back to the days when the kids were little at the cabin. I don’t really want to. I do enjoy the memories. And at the same time, I see that they are a little skewed by the cloudy lenses of my thinking.

The days were filled with lots of moments.

The moments were filled with a lots of love.

And it looks clear to me now, that the emotions I am feeling are….. that love.

cabin 2.jpg
gayle nobel