Life In The Woods

DSC01219Dear Mom,

In answer to your question on the phone, I write from the couch of the Innsbruck place by the open window. There is the movement of cool, fall air coming in, which I love. Summer can give over now, though it was so short. I love the golden rod and fall asters blooming. The crickets say that autumn is well on the way.

I heard my first swan trumpeting during the night last night. I couldn’t fathom what it might be at first, like the sound of a horn or bugle making lovely echoes in these woods.

“What is that sound?” I had to know so I risked waking Elv for it.

“The swans.” He rolled over and continued sleeping. But I laid awake listening. Just yesterday I was thinking about how too busy and crammed I am, trying to keep ahead of our crazy, two-location life. And I remembered that I hadn’t been quiet enough lately to notice anything as a gift from God to me personally. Creatures of the wild are one of the ways I think about God and His love being shared with me. It had been several days.

I have been trying to get a good photo of the swans here. Last week they were on the pond below the cabin where Lance’s are staying, so I had ample opportunity, it would seem, to get this photo. All of the resulting pictures are too far away and unclear. So I will keep trying.

I want this photo for a reason. It would be the perfect picture for my reasons to be here on the job with Elv. I will label it “Together” and I hope to frame it. Maybe it sounds hokey and silly to anyone else, but to me it is one of God’s gifts to me about our efforts to maintain our marriage with more togetherness. It is like God is blessing us for taking up the challenge we faced of Elv being gone all week on a distant logging job causing us to be together less not more.

You asked, Mom, if things are working out with the purchase and use of the Innsbruck (travel trailer) as we hoped they would. We are in our third week now. We are picking up on a routine for our days in the woods.

Last week I actually sat and read a book. And I browsed Johanna Gaines’s Magnolia cookbook, cooked real meals for sit-down suppers, and roamed the trails on foot with Kristine or Elv. Today, Kristine and I went out to St Croix Falls and found a thrift store where I bought books to read. We also went to the library. I found books about St Croix there as I intended.

Life in the woods is quiet. And as busy … or not, as we like. I am content to be lazy and read books and wander around with my camera. Even the projects I did bring sit idle. I started my regular fall crocheting of the always needed hot pads for the various family kitchens, but haven’t picked it up again.

Lisl answered a question in Sunday School this week that I have been agonizing over for several years. She put it into words in her conversation with Clara Schnupp who had the answer for both of us. Her question was, “How do you hold all the people you’ve loved in your heart all the time?” Clara’s answer, “You don’t.” was a little startling, but mostly comforting. She went on to explain how you don’t forget them either, but you have to attend to who is with you today and wait until you meet the others again to pick up conversation or fellowship. It’s okay.

Last night I read excerpts aloud to Elv from Lucado’s Cure for the Common Life and felt a little jerked back into the old I reality of servanthood where I have lived my whole life. Maybe heaven is the only legal place for “me time”. Musing that right now.

But I had also read aloud from A Year In Provence by Peter Mayle while we had our hot chocolate after our evening “explore” through these woods. And so found ourselves in France deciding to preserve the vineyards and enjoy the fine cuisine described on these pages. Humor and interest from a different world yet with the familiar affinity of our fellows making us laugh in the right places. It is relaxing to get outside our own “four walls” by reading together. I toyed with reading aloud to Elv while he greased the machine today just outside our door.

Sometimes I worry that we don’t have anything to talk about after 36 years of marriage. It seems like we’ve spent so much time solving people conflicts and our own ordinary problems of life: money, kids, and events that with the current relative absence of any of those things; we’ve lost important tension on the ropes with no wind in our sails. The truth is, this space of quiet isn’t a case of being becalmed; it is opportunity to view the scenery of other lives in other places by reading and observing for a change. It’s a good time to consider a course change or to anticipate what’s over the horizon. And to pray!

I may get time to crochet or sew later, but for now I am happy to dedicate our together-in-the-woods days to reading, scribbling, and exploring. Besides, there’s still plenty of house keeping to make the days varied. And Lance’s live here, too.

Every week is a new chapter. Every morning a brand new day. Every moment God’s prerogative of change and blessing and testing. And my choice to love or hate, curse or bless. Since God is sovereign how can I do less than trust? He knew all about today long ago, why should I not go ahead and live it? Maybe today I’ll get that perfect shot of the swans.

2 thoughts on “Life In The Woods”

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