in the out house
I went to our camp this past weekend, just for an evening. My husband and son went for the long weekend, but I can’t do that, there is mold and mildew and I am allergic, and anyway I can’t take three days off work just now. So I drove up there Saturday, late afternoon, a perfectly perfect day, just the right temperature, not a cloud in the sky, and the drive along the lake between here and there is always beautiful. On this day, the water was the darkest of teal, all dotted with tiny white sailboats.
I keep forgetting the windmills, built two summers ago, although I guess they are actually turbines, all stark and white and metal-looking but still, stunning. And along this drive there is a spot where you come down a big hill into a small town, and ten of these windmills are perched at the top of the next hill over. It is a very hilly place. And it’s a sight to behold, takes my breath away, really, the way they stand there like sentinels watching over the valley.
I should have stopped to take pictures, but the road was busy and my dog was panting, freaking out because he hates hates hates riding in the car and we were 30 minutes into a 45 minute drive. So I drove on by without taking pictures, but one day, soon, I will go back. And when I got to our camp I said to my husband, “I want a windmill, can we get one?” and of course, he just laughed, thinking I was kidding, but really, I want a windmill.
And then I sat down and listened to the wind in the trees, poplars and pine, that wonderful sound, and I watched the poplar leaves dance back and forth. I thought of the trees that have fallen, these poplars that are dying one by one, two of them have landed on the cabin. And this is where we got married, on the bridge that crossed the stream, but now that has fallen, too.
And I thought of our dog, the other dog, the one that died three years ago now, how camp was always his favorite place and we took him there the weekend before he died, even though the weekend before that he didn’t want to go, could barely move as the kids and my husband packed up to leave. But that next weekend we took him, not knowing it was his last weekend. And when it was dark, we went for the walk that we always walk, and we stopped in the spot where we always stop and we listened for the splash in the neighbor’s pond that we always knew was coming. That weekend, it was like he was a puppy again.
And then suddenly, out of nowhere, I was crying, not just misty- eyed but balling, missing all these things that are gone. So I went to the outhouse to collect myself and dry my eyes. The photo above shows what I saw facing out through the doorway of a door that no longer closes. Still life with outhouse, framed. (It faces into our woods, privacy isn’t an issue, and I went back, afterwards, to take the picture, in case you were wondering.)
Later, as I was leaving, to drive home to care for these cats and to sleep in my bed, I walked out to the road and saw the Milky Way, perfectly perfect, every star in the sky visible. And then as I drove I watched the moon rise, just beyond a long stretch of farm. It was huge and orange, tucked behind wispy clouds, more harvest moon than end of May moon. And again, I wanted to stop for a picture, it was that incredible, that memorable, but again, I had my dog in the back and his panting had risen beyond frantic, so I kept driving. And then I was home.
But in that short span of time, just six hours,
I saw a lifetime of fabulous views.