Friday, June 14, 2013

Ties to the Past

Last June eight of the women in our family got together for a weekend 'up the lake' at Papa's cabin.  In fact, it is Nanny's and Papa's cabin but somehow we all associate going up there with Papa.  It's not easy getting our families together which is true of most families.  While we couldn't all be there, those that could had a wonderful time.

On the way up to the cabin three generations of Watson women stopped at Papa's grave sight to share a quiet moment, remember some happy times and to pay tribute to a wonderful man.  We lay some flowers on his grave and remembered that day exactly 18 years before that we lost Papa to cancer.  It sounds like a sad way to start a happy weekend but it wasn't, at least not for me.  When I think of Papa the memories are always happy ones of a loud boisterous family led by a soft-spoken gentle man.

We hopped into the truck, stopped at the home store for the last of our supplies and hit the bumpy logging road that winds its way towards our little piece of paradise.  This was my grand-daughter Elizabeth's first trip to the cabin she has heard so much about.  We stopped along the way to take pictures of the beautiful lake vistas and as we got closer and closer she asked more and more often, "Are we there?  Is this it?" until that last turn that takes us down to the shores of the lake and our extremely rustic, somewhat patched-together cabin.  We are talking rustic here, outhouse and everything.  There is no power, no plumbing, no TV's or videos.  What there is, is peace.
It didn't take us long to unload the chairs and head to the dock.  The weather had been terrible during the week leading up to our trip but somehow Mother Nature pulled off a miracle and we had a beautiful, warm sunny day ahead of us.  As we sat on the dock a lone bald eagle circled overhead, dropping down just above us and tilted his wings back and forth.  I have been going to the cabin for 42 years and I have never seen a bald eagle up there.  Being the anniversary of Papa's death, it just felt like he was hovering above watching his grandchildren and great-grandchild enjoying a place that had been so special to him.  It was perfect.

Being 'up the lake' means not having to do anything, unless you want to.  For us it involved a lot of talking and laughing and remembering while we made new memories to add to the old.  It was so great to see Elizabeth exploring, dipping into the lake, finding a quiet moment by herself on the rocks and hanging out with all of adoring aunties and island family.

We cooked on the open fire, laid out a campfire feast fit for a king, slept squashed together in the tiny cabin, trudged to the stinky old outhouse and back and washed our faces in the cold, cold water of Comox Lake, a lake fed through the crookshanks  from the snow-topped mountains above.  The kids took their fishing rods down to the lake and pretended to fish while the rest of us just relaxed.

We did a bit of writing. capturing some of our own cabin memories and hope to add to it year by year, family by family.  The older we get the more important these ties to the past become for us.  It's important to all of us to have our children up there, and now our grandchildren.  It's important that they hear the stories of their great- Papa and great-Nanny and to know that this place exists and that it is there for them.  It is important that we spend time together with nothing to do but enjoy each other and to play and explore and laugh together.

This weekend will be our second annual Watson Women Weekend at the Cabin.  I can't wait!


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