Robert (gurdonark) wrote,

in a cabin

I love finding cabins on the internet. The world is full of cabins. Indeed, all the world's a cabin, and all the people are merely lodgers.

Cabins are not advertised in guide books, and newspapers are no longer affordable places to advertise. Yet luxury cabins fit perfectly into internet-website-size spaces. One enters a search term in the search engine, like "cabin luxury southeastern Oklahoma", and the smorgasbord arises before one's eyes like so many catfish at a midnight pond feeding.

Cabins have these things called "amenities". An "amenity" is anything you probably have at home already, but are amenable to having one more when traveling. Sometimes the cabin promotional literature boasts that a cabin lacks this amenity or that amenity. Cabins frequently offer an "escape" from the telephone, but rarely offer any escape from the tomorrow-and-tomorrow-and-tomorrow petty pace of thought.

Cabins in the winter are bleak landscape,from which year-round birds are fed. Cabins in the Summer are cricket sound recording zones, and places where flickers flicker, to be captured with the camera's flicker for display on flickr.

I used to think I wanted to own a cabin, as one of my happiest childhood memories is staying at a lake cabin my family owned during my childhood. Now, though, I realize the joy in renting a cabin. Cabins, like boats, are great to conceptualize as being owned "in fee simple", but actually should probably be owned "in leasehold estate". For hundreds of dollars, one can rent a dollop of cabin, while owning one requires a more substantial outlay of cash and an inestimable outlay of worry.

My favorite thing about a cabin is early-morning birdsong, and the feel of the breeze through a screen porch.
My favorite thing about a hiking trail is the wild-flowers, but the birdson is a close second. My favorite thing about my backyard is birds at the feeder, and birdsong in my chimney grate. I feel attuned to temporary stays with transitory birds. So many migratory patterns--human and avian--involve longing for home.

I like broad empty spaces of land, sometimes--yellowing fields in winter, with cedar trees. There's a cabin-like sense of home in that, somehow. One visits such a place and one is reminded that one is but a renter on this earth, and holding over is strictly prohibited. The views give one the feeling of purchase, but in fact the estate is merely a term for years.

Perhaps that's the joy of cabins and condos. In the space of a four-day weekend, one can "come home again".
I've stood on the boat dock by a Virginia lake and caught a different species of fish with each cast, and felt as if I were at home, on a feeder stream to a nuclear power plant. I've watched my voice recorder spin uncontrollably after an effort to record tropical bird song near the rain-forest, and felt entirely at home when the rains pummeled the roof.

In a cabin, one lives life a little more fully than at home. The shortwave radio is no longer a novelty, but a life-line to London or Copenhagen. In a cabin one stares through pine trees towards Canadian streams, as if staring off in the distance were the most important thing. In a cabin, food always tastes better, and sounds always sound more natural.

These days my cabins look a lot like empty spaces, but I rent them, somehow, for an hour's walk. I hear the cattle lowing in the distance, through the fields--moaning "this is finite; this--and you--all ends". In a cabin fear has no purchase, though. In a cabin, the imaginary cabin in the middle of a clover-filled field,
one hears the lowing and one thinks about the passing from this world, and with a light sigh says "I know".
Then the cloud covers the sun, and the fields acquire a thunderhead hue, and then it's time to drive home.

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