I spent most of the last week at a friend’s cabin in upstate New York. I wrote this song while I was there.
I drove up there… from Texas. It was a 26-hour drive; but on the way up I stopped in Virginia with my 17-year-old son. He spent the weekend there with friends; then I dropped him off at the airport to fly home, and I kept driving.
…and driving… and driving. When I say upstate New York, what I mean is “I can see Canada from my house.”
Don’t get me wrong; it was a beautiful drive, and the end game was 100% worth it.
I showed up just as it was starting to get dark. I was pretty tired. It was pretty dark. I wasn’t 100% sure which house it was (because of said darkness), and I hadn’t been there before. When I realized which house it was, I had to turn around on the narrow road to go back a few acres.
There was no driveway.
I realized the two other cars there (one theirs, one their sons) was on the grass; so in the darkness I eased my Dodge Charger up to the house. As I was gathering up doodads around me in the car, my friends bounded up to the door. They were both ready with hugs. “You’re here!” they exclaimed.
The inside of the cabin was beautiful knotty pine. There were cute little northern artifacts nailed here and there on the walls. I was introduced to their twenty-something son, who would be sleeping downstairs on the couch. My bedroom was the upstairs loft. We lugged my things up the stairs, they made sure I was set for the night, and I crashed.
(Unfortunately my husband wasn’t able to make this trip with me. He would have loved to; but he had to work.)
I woke up the next morning and pulled out my earplugs (can’t sleep without them now) to hear birds chirping. Have you ever noticed that if you wake up in a not-home place, the birds sound different? You should hear them in Germany… man I don’t know what they’re saying.
I was up there for three days. I arrived on Monday night and left Friday morning. They were an incredibly fun few days!
On the first (full) day, my friend’s husband was saying he wanted to write a cabin song. He started spouting off a few ideas. I figured I’d need to be there a few days before writing one. The environment would tell me what to write.
I was right.
The place I was staying, now that the beautiful sun was out and I could see it, was an honest-to-God log cabin. There was a separate garage/shed where they stored the big stand-on lawnmower and the 50-year-old tractor. Of course, there was no driveway; but who needs a driveway?
They told me that when they first get there they need to turn on the water; and when they leave at the end of the week they drain the pipes and turn the water off. They don’t necessarily need to do that in the summer; but they do it just in case, since they aren’t 100% sure when they will be up there again.
My friend put on a tank top, shorts, suntan lotion, and high furry winter boots. Then she went out to mow the lawn. I’m not sure how much land it is–but I’d guess a few acres. A lot of people don’t realize that when you have a getaway cabin it requires a lot of upkeep. There’s always little projects that need to be done–like mowing the lawn.
They had towed their other son’s jet ski up there with them. (He hadn’t been able to come either.) It needed a little tuning up before they could get it going at a decent clip. Ironically, I had written the line in the song about the jet ski being out of gas before the jet ski actually ran out of gas.
The cabin itself is on an incline. The main floor has a back deck that you can walk out on; that’s where I am in this video. Underneath where you’re standing on the deck is a concrete patio. There’s a gas grill and some other things down there. When you look straight out from the deck, you’re looking out on the lake.
There are other cabins and homes dotted along the shoreline. Across the water is the year-round home of some friends. (I wrote about visiting them last Wednesday.) My friends told me that if you are out on the shore talking really loud, the people across the lake could hear you. I thought that was pretty neat.
While we were visiting our friends across the lake, a big old red girl dog ambled up onto the deck where we sat. The fur all around her eyes was white, and she was pretty droopy. I wondered how old she was, and I wondered about all the things she had seen out here on the lake in her long life.
As the sun went down the younger people started setting off fireworks down by the water’s edge. I was downright cold. (That’s when you take someone who has adapted to Texas and bring them to almost-Canada.) I was all bundled up in my Kid Rock hoodie and long corduroy leggings. I threw an extra log into a brick fire box just off the deck and pulled a lawn chair right up to it, holding up my bare tootsies to heat them by the fire.
I had such a great time hanging out with my friends put here. They are so incredibly nice–and everyone up there that I met was incredibly nice. I don’t know when I’ll get way up there again, but I do hope that day comes. Maybe there’ll be snow on the ground next time, and my husband and I will go up there in his Jeep.
Maybe there will end up being a winter version of the cabin song…