Monday, February 18, 2008


As some of you may have noted, I have a thing for cabins isolated out in the middle of the woods. The aptly titled Cabin Fever features an entire mountainside that isolates Daniel and Isabel from the stresses of the city, and in Secret Submission and Submission Revealed, Phillip’s home is a cottage centered in a hundred-acre wood. In both, the city represents all that keeps them from their dreams…only in the remote cabin are the characters free to be who they wish.

Why do I point that out? Because my husband and I have just realized a long-held goal. After years and years of looking, drooling, dreaming…we bought our very own cabin in the woods.

Fate has a funny way of twisting itself around you sometimes. In a conversation with our neighbor (whom we’ve known for fourteen years), she made a brief reference to the fact that they were selling their cabin and her husband had gone out to show it to a couple who were interested in buying it. My dearly beloved and I looked at each other. “Cabin?” I said. “Cabin?” he said. Neither of us had ever known they owned a cabin.

We prodded for information and discovered that they and another couple had bought the land (twelve wooded acres on a mountainside in New York’s Southern Tier) back in the ‘70’s and they’d built a 1600 sq ft cabin on it. Now, I have to tell you…1600 sq ft was the size of our first house, so this is no tiny little place! We avidly listen and pump for more information. We let her know we are VERY interested in looking at it and for the price they were asking…we’d almost buy it sight unseen.

That weekend, we went down to get a good look. Three miles out of the nearest town, the roads turned to dirt. Another three miles later, we turned off into a farmer’s lane. I’d like to say the fall colors were at peak and the sun shone brightly…but the reality was it was pouring buckets full. Inside and out.

Yes, that’s right. The ceiling leaked. A lot. As I tell everyone we’ve brought there since, you need to look at it with the rose-colored glasses of potential, not the clear glasses of reality. Seems the two families had built the place on weekends for nearly three years after they bought it. Then the kids grew up and the couples went out less and less. For the last five years, the place had been virtually abandoned and it looked it. The leaks had rotted the floors in two places, a squirrel had chewed a hole over the back door and moved in…along with the field mice who’d used the uncovered insulation in the walls as nesting material. The wall-to-wall rugs stunk with animal odors and rot.

But what we saw…was our wish turned to reality. We’d already rebuilt our first house, we could rebuild this one. Shaking hands with our neighbor, we bought the shell and would build the dream.

So why do I write about this today? Because the sun is shining and the air temperature is thirty degrees and there’s no wind. Because I want to be out there working (I’ve learned to spackle!) and I don’t care if there’s no electricity, no running water or heat. It’s my escape and I want to be there. It’s where I’ll write when the weather turns warm and where I’ll dream up new stories and new characters…and I can’t wait to meet them. And although life keeps me home today, I look forward to the day when we can call the cabin home.


Titania Ladley said...

How cool! The best in life, IMO, really is going with what makes you feel happy and settled inside rather than what society's grown to expect of people. We've always lived in the center of what some call "the rat race", but this last move, we bought a "cabin" in the woods, too, and I couldn't be happier! I value my solitude and having my quiet little slice of nature (plus, I need total quiet to write--well, except for tweeting birds or the trees blowing in the wind), so I know exactly what you mean. Your cabin sounds like heaven, and I'll be cheering when the day comes that you and hubby get to take full advantage of it. :)


Lynn LaFleur said...

It sounds wonderful! I don't have a cabin, but I have a quiet place surrounded by trees that I love.

Happy remodeling, Diana!