I learned to walk on your front porch. Kissed a boy there too. Plucked slivers from my feet and painted my toenails with my cousins. Tried to tan on your sunny deck, and have hidden under an umbrella’s shade since surviving melanoma. I’ve done dishes with my grandma and my mom and now my daughters overlooking your lake.
Your coffee pots are 50 years old and so are you. I think your dish pans belonged to Grandma Helen. They are battered and worn, have bathed babies, and watered horses.
You’ve seen so much of me, and I’ve loved so much of you.
Your quiet mornings and slow afternoons.
Your starry nights and thundering rain storms.
I’ve gazed out over the snow from your second story window, dug a hole down to your door on a February day. Such a rare thing because you are a summer cabin. We open you in June and close you come September. The mountain road closes too and then only snowmobiles can find you. That one year we found you. Asleep packed in snow. We woke you up along with the trout, and caught so many rainbows we couldn’t carry them home.
You’ve watched me grow up and I’ve watched my parents grow old beneath your ponderosa pines. Mom and Daddy used to raise hell in the meadow playing volleyball games till dark with their friends. Now they quietly raise grandchildren and look forward to heaven’s meadows.
I learned to play poker under a kerosene lamp in your living room, your only room besides your loft with eight beds. We kids mastered hide and seek in your meadow, were taught to stack wood on your wooden deck, and learned how to water ski in your freezing lake.
Now my boys are learning the same.
We’ve never missed a summer with you. Even when we lived in Germany, we flew home to California and drove three hours just to see you in June. Your endless green meadow and lake where loons dive and our children have learned to fish and swim and paddle a canoe.
With or without water in the lake, you are perfect, and so peaceful. A balm for the soul.
On Sunday–Father’s Day– I realized the ones we love don’t last forever, and neither will you. Someday you will crumble, maybe under the Sierra snow pack. But before this, what would you say to the family who built you? Who has enjoyed you so much?
“Slow down,” perhaps.
“Don’t work so hard.”
“Come and see me more often.”
“Life is short.”
“Make it sweet.”
“Grill more burgers.”
“Eat more s’mores.”
“When it’s too dry for a bonfire, just sing louder.”
“When the lake is low, run further to the water.”
“Stop and listen to the wind in the pines.”
“And don’t forget, summer is a season.”
“So is grief.”
“Some years are good.”
“Some not so good.”
“But God is always good.”
“Come see me when you can.”
“The chipmunks are waiting for your food.”