Last week I posted an example of how my nine year old self would share a story if I was blogging back then. (It’s here if you want to read it). That got me thinking, how would I share that same experience today now that I have a blog? There is only one way to find out. Blog it!
NEW YEAR’S EVE 1973 (After 40 Years of Reflection)
The log building was not much bigger then a normal room. It had a large bunk built against the back wall, lined with fresh branches cut from evergreen trees. This served as the mattress. A wood stove crafted out of a 45 gallon oil drum with a stove pipe up through the roof was in the front corner. A small table and a rough hewed bench completed the furnishing.
Standing up in the cabin Dad’s head was just inches from the peak of the roof. Several miles up in the country, with no roads and before snow mobiles, everything had to be trekked in to this place on your back. It was a hike of several hours, through woods, over hills and across bogs. So rather then lumber or plywood, the roof was a patchwork of tar paper, mill canvas, cardboard and sheets of plastic. There may even have been a square or two of birch bark used to patch emergency leaks.
My grandfather once told me he fell asleep in the camp with a single candle burning and woke up later that night to see the stars shining down on him. I was told never to tell Nan.
One New Years Eve Dad brought the entire family up there for the night. After the supper Mom had cooked on the wood stove, under the propane glow of the Coleman lantern, bedtime came very early. I drifted to sleep with the tin can sounds of a tiny, battery-operated transistor radio near my ear.
After midnight I awoke in pitch blackness. Everyone was asleep on the bunk sandwiched between warm layers of blankets and quilts. Mom and Dad were on the outside while I was inside, between my sister and the back wall. The aroma of evergreen branches clung to blankets making everything smell like Christmas. There was that one branch beneath the blankets that kept digging me in the ribs no matter which way I turned.
It was so quiet.
In the dark I rubbed my hand against the smooth cold logs of the wall. Dried moss was stuffed between them to keep out the draft though it did little to keep out the cold. The fire in the wood stove had long since burned itself out. I touched my nose and it tingled with cold. The temperature had dropped well below freezing on this deep winter night. If I could see in the dark I could watch my breath rise into the frosty air with each exhale. I drew my arm back in under the blankets, pulled it up to my nose and then found the one perfect spot were no branch stuck me in my rib.
Of course that was when I had to pee.
Dad got up to relight the wood stove. After spending countless nights in his younger days in this place it was the normal winter time routine. You have your supper, sleep till the middle of the night, get up and relight the stove, then when everything was glowing warm, you settled in to sleep through the second half of the night. I used this opportunity to pull on my boots and head outside to relieve my bladder.
That night was 40 years ago and I may have forgotten many things since that time, but one thing about that trip I still remember was the view of the sky through the treetops that night.
An ocean of twinkling diamonds sparkled and flittered in the crystal heavens, the universe spread wide above me and revealed eternity, it had a grand design, a special plan, a mighty purpose and there was one important part, that only I could play.
Yes, me… nine years old, standing there, peeing in the snow.