I was twenty-eight and very weary. I had tried to find love, and failed. I had tried to find a career, and got stuck. I had tried to find adventure and romance, and got bored. I had tried to save the world, and developed an ulcer. I had tried to do all the things I thought I ought, but I only succeeded in exhausting myself.
The woods seemed safe. So peaceful. So soft and gentle and welcoming and undemanding. I watched the sun set over the treetops and a sudden prayer welled up within me. God, please let me stay here; let me rest.
The cabin came about because it was all I had. Not I, really--my dad. When I was a kid he built it of rough-cut lumber and salvaged materials, on a pretty little ridge beyond the other homes on our family land. He had dreams of family camping trips but that turned out to be more trouble than it was worth. Some friends had used it as a hunting cabin for a while, but it had mostly been a haven for mice and flying squirrels.
I loved that cabin. I had camped out in it a few times. It was so sturdy and hopeful in spite of never quite fulfilling its purpose. It seemed such good friends with the trees. I had thought I would live in it more or less as it stood. Finish the inside; add electricity, a bath house of some kind, and a wood burning stove; drill a well.
But my family encouraged me not to waste time and money doing things half-way. They suggested we bulldoze the current cabin and start from scratch. My dad said it wasn't square or plumb enough for a proper house. (He was right.) But I couldn't bear the thought. In my own weariness, I identified with the little cabin. I wanted it to be properly lived in and cared for. I wanted it to have a happy ending, not just a useless life and then be demolished.
We agreed to build an addition for a bedroom, bath, and back porch. My family supplied the funding and most of the labor for the basic structure. I agreed to take care of finishing the inside--walls, flooring, furnishings, etc. My dear cousin worked with my dad on the framing, and headed up the roofing. New windows for the original part of the cabin were salvaged from an auto parts store. I scraped off the decals advertising tires and fuel pumps. The front door had been the former back door of a friend's parents' home.
And I had thought I couldn't find love. I was surrounded by people who loved me and offered what they could to help make my cabin-dream come true.
My dad splurged and put on cedar siding. It made the whole place look a bit like a wooden trailer, but I was thrilled. It smelled heavenly. In time, it would grey like the old siding had. And, anyway, I had already drawn up plans for a front porch.