I love the phrase "vacation rental". I've rarely rented a "vacation rental", but it has such good associations for me. It's old-fashioned. I had a childhood friend whose family went each year to Caddo Gap and rented a cabin. There's a certain "I can't say what" about saying "we summer in Caddo Gap". Caddo Gap is a rural place, with cabins on a narrow but scenic river. It is not that far, I don't believe, from the place in which the natural whetstone flint is abundant, nor from that county in which the presence of extreme doses of magnetite makes all compasses read false north.
Yesterday during a firm luncheon inspired by the fact that a kind thrift had drawn one of our attorneys' card from a fishbowl, I expounded, as I am capable of doing but often try to resist doing, upon the virtues and joys of having an electric co-op for our utility provider. The co-op movement was started and government-incentivized to accomplish rural electrification many decades ago. Our home town of Allen was rural farm land not that many decades ago. We are now a 50,000 soul suburban town, but we still have the co-op. The local co-op is pretty efficient, but more importantly, it sends us a monthly magazine. The magazine has classified ads for rural machine-made quilts, honey bees, steel buildings and pond fish. I joked that it featured a lot of people who have no teeth, but I had to quickly correct the record, because I am so very fond of rural people. I do not consider myself one, quite--I grew up "in town". But I like country folks, whom I consider all to be more or less lost cousins.
I used to long for a cabin in the country, or even a little quaint one-bedroom in a small town, to which we could retreat on the weekends. As so often happens, once I began to total up how much such a thing would cost, I came to realize that a vacation rental would be more practical. Now the vacation rental is the shining city, or rather cabin, on the hill--a thing of beauty, a joy thus far denied but one day to be swigged like the finest ginger beer (that is, with extra cinnamon and more than a touch of malt).
We once did shared vacation rental with friends on the upper peninsula of Michigan. The company was grand--our friends and the woman friend's extended family. Certainly, it was a mild drawback that they preferred the macaroni and cheese and potato au gratin dishes of their region to the shimmering sound of deep-frying fish, but we got along famously. The lake upon which we resided was a perch lake. One put a worm on a hook, dropped line to the bottom of clear, spring-fed lake, and a perch jumped onto the hook and was pulled up. But the vacation rental itself fell short. The cabin had a rust about it, for which I believe the word "grotty" was coined, although I may be misusing "grotty", and may mean instead "grommet", "meerkat" or "miami haze". Anyway, it was a complex and unsatisfactory word, the way that cabin looked. I bit into food and tasted rust, somehow. This was a new spin on the word "rustic", now that I think about it.
Still, I want to live in a vacation rental. I want to play Scrabble and Monopoly. I want to fish in waters filled with fish, from a little boat I rent by the week. I want to hike in deep woods, and go to small towns where I can find hand-tied tie quilts. I want to eat food that I cooked over open flames, and perhaps pull out a can-jo and plink out "this land was made for you and me".
I made plans today to drive on Sunday to a high-technology attraction, to which I look forward with sheer anticipation. But I can imagine instead looking up at the stars---seven sisters, but thousands of sisters, if only we could see with more clarity. I want to know that Mars is as near as it will be in my lifetime, and dream of earth-like planets and the worlds of motion within a rotifer I view in a microscope. I want to read by daylight, and sing by darkness. I want to set aside, for a moment, this sense of burden and care with which I sometimes find myself living my days. I want to talk in whispers to relatives, present and departed, and realize as if I am talking only to myself, but a less harried self. i want to spend time with people who matter to me, and find time to spend moments that do not matter at all. I want to be unfazed by heat and unshivered by the chill night air making bumps on my arm.
I look up at the moon, and I feel as if I am looking at a thing a billion times seen. But I see it again, and it tells me its own story, that only I can translate. In my vacation rental, I am borrowing the moon, bringing it around for a good look, and then leaving it behind in the darkest sky.