The Importance of being
I just came back from vacation. I went to a rustic log cabin on Sunshine, Deer Isle in Maine’s Penobscot Bay that my Swiss grandparents bought in the early 40s along with fifty acres for $1000. Hastily erected ninety years ago, possibly more, by lumberjacks logging the dense surrounding pine forests, this “hovel” as these structures were called, has one main room with a hearth on one side of the central chimney and a wood stove on the other. Both smoke, although not as badly as in my grandmother’s day. She had to cook, flashlight high in hand, wearing goggles.
Today we have a newer wood stove, (circa 1970?) with tighter seams.Not only that, we have electricity! After twenty five years with no indoor plumbing or lights, my grandmother finally convinced my grandfather to join the twentieth century. Electricity was installed. The ice box was ousted for a refrigerator. The pump on the sink gave way to a faucet. The outhouse, with its scenic woodsy view was replaced with an indoor bathroom, and I’ll never forget the installation of the telephone, which, on rainy days, provided many hours of entertainment eaves dropping on island biddies on the party line swapping rumors and recipes.
I repeatedly walked to a promontory overlooking the beach to check for cell service, messages, and if lucky, emails. I returned the voice messages that I did get as I could. I laid fires and cooked on the wood stove. In the morning, I swept the pine needles from the floor and shook the rag rugs outside. I dead headed the nasturtiums and watered the flower boxes. I kept the wood boxes full. I emptied the tinder box from the stove. At low tide, I fed the gulls leftover bread. I picked wildflowers and arranged them in jars. I dealt with insomnia by reading into the night. The first few days, I walked down the road to my mother’s house where she lives year round, to get online. She had installed DSL a week before our arrival. I got to use the internet once, then the DSL blitzed out completely. Three days later, the land line in the Cabin stopped ringing, its ringer simply giving up the ghost. The dial tone disappeared intermittently as well. Was the Universe trying to tell me something?
By the way, the DSL reinstated itself at my Mom’s house at 9 PM on our last night. And the dial tone came back that night at the Cabin, too. Coincidence? Or God acting anonymously?