It might be 2016, but at the cabin it could be 1956. With the exception of a few solar panels that my Uncle Steve has installed on his place, the cabin remains as rustic as it was when it was purchased in the late 50s. There is no electricity, no telephone, no central air or heating. Some days if you have the right mobile phone and are standing at just the right spot you might get a bar or two, but other than those solar panels or that intermittent cell service a trip to the cabin means going off the grid completely.
There is no television to watch, no email to answer, no laundry to put in the washer, no vacuum cleaner to run over the carpet. Oh yeah, there isn’t any carpet.
We still make coffee with a percolator. We make that coffee on a stove that was built in the mid-1930s. We light the cabin at night with candles or kerosene lanterns. We warm the cabin with fires fueled by trees we cut and split. We swim in the creek and river. We spend our days working and our evenings reading or playing games. It’s all the same as when the cabin was first purchased.
And it’s not just the cabin, it’s the area around it. The market is the same. The Peg House is the same. The Drive-Thru tree is the same. Confusion Hill is the same. Sure, a couple of things have changed, but they are masked by everything that hasn’t. It’s a region that you could not visit for two decades, go back and be struck upon return by its “different sameness,” to use a phrase by Ben McGraw of the New Yorker.
Today, in a world where everything else changes so quickly, it’s a luxury to return to the cabin where life is made simple by all that remains the same.