I told my husband,
as silly a girl as I am...
would he please, please be open to taking the long route?
There was, after all,
all this history along hwy 8.
Not a straight shot, abandoning GPS,
but surely abounding with pieces.
The heart of this girl?
Watered, nourished. Over the years.
With the trees, with the quiet...
of the Northwoods.
I gushed all ten-again,
how we always knew we were close to the cabin
when we saw it: the mystical-parting-of-the-trees.
Like waters bowed up on either side of a secret passage to peace.
Parted just for us.
And then--like a storybook come-to-life,
we saw it.
Open and just as secret and divine as ever I remember it.
There at the intersection of hwy 8 and H.
My childhood began unfolding.
Then there's the bend...
And then the highway that slips right between two glorious, unadulterated lakes.
You can see that highway from my childhood pier.
The one I sat on every. single. summer.
As we slipped our way right along that highway-between-the-lakes...
I could not understand,
I was trembling and crying.
Trying to look out the window and hide tears from little boys
who would wonder what-in-the-world-had-gotten-ahold-of-their-momma?
That place, it is tied to me.
Like a deep, old friend.
It is the very clay from which I am made.
That little cabin with the wooden sign,
"THIS IS IT"
right there at the edge of its driveway.
Or at least that's where it once stood,
announcing to us that no matter how far we'd come,
or what the year had brought us,
It was where all the memories of childhood could be heard,
Like an envelope waiting.
THIS IS IT.
And it was.
When that little cabin went up for sale, $5,000 and needing to be moved offsite?
I was renting an apartment, a brand new wife.
And I swore that no matter what it took,
we just had to find out if we could buy those walls.
The only thing is....
It's very backwards to buy a cabin before your first house.
And before we knew it?
We found out how much we could borrow.
We learned about mortgages.
And we bought our first house.
We bought this house that I am sitting in,
because of that cabin.
we had to let the cabin go...
Because life is the story of sometimes having precious places
Right off the map.
I stood at the edge of that purest water.
I wondered if it remembered me.
Stood there, unmoving.
Letting the memories wash right over me.
That water brought ghosts.
Time is this current that sweeps and washes and moves and never stops...
You can look into it and see backwards...
Faintly hear it swishing forward.
Even as you are desperately clawing and trying to get it to stop.
For just a moment.
Can I go back?
Remember the water slide...remember my sisters in diapers...
my dad running into that water fast and splashing and oh-how-we-begged-him-more-more-more.
The minnows in schools and moving all together and me running away.
Wondering how, how could that bravest sister of mine, just a few years my younger...
how could she swim out to that floating dive-deck with all those FISH down there in the deep?
Mom and her laughter, always smiling,
What treat would we find today?
Would we rescue stray dogs with porcupine needles in their chins?
Maybe play the 101 Dalmations game up in the loft...
Tucked there on those shelves, where we each claimed a slab as our space?
Catch a chipmunk with a jump rope and a box?
Would Muriel be there, and Gordie...
Would she show us how to sew little bunny crafts?
Would we make it across the entire lake today in the paddleboat? Just sisters?
I am young again, little.
My future yet unwritten.
This family, this place ~ it is my everything.
When did I grow up?
When did that happen?
The air, is frigid.
The trees, they are changing colors all around and the smell of change ~ fills the air.
Somewhere between that little girl,
And this 32 year old standing here...
Only I cannot remember exactly how.
Just that I'm back,
and somehow I'm still that little girl?
The water remembers, I am sure of it.
It whispers eternal.
No wonder Jesus is compared to living WATER.
The very essence of life.
It is mind boggling to remember yourself as a little girl,
and turn around to watch your OWN babies playing.
It was my mission, you know.
To bring them here.
To seat them down at this grand table, the purest feast...
And have them eat it up.
And never be the same.
And always want to come back.
And bring their babies.
Suddenly I was overwhelmed with gratitude that my parents,
despite the investment of time and finances ~
they made this place a top priority.
We only missed one summer.
But we made up for it the summer that we came for TWO weeks.
We started coming the year I turned five...
and our last summer was the year I was 22.
That adds up to 18 weeks of my life spent on Lake Hilbert,
give or take.
What a precious gift.
More than any other vacation, place, or memory.
More even that my childhood home on Madison Street.
This place formed me,
taught me peace.
Helped me deeply know the heart of God.
How to hear Him.
I still have trouble finding peace in the city.
I just reach out and wrap myself in it.
"THIS IS IT"