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The End of The Season
By this time almost everyone who is going to close a cabin this season has done so.
I had not realized what an intensely personal chore this is. In the first place people are reluctant to talk about it at all, since that will give you some idea of what's in their cabin (as if you haven't been looking at it for 20 years anyway.)
Second, everyone has a different system. Some people put things in attics, or basements, if they have them, or they hide stuff in the garage or in crawl spaces. Some people take darned near everything with them, and some people store things in Estes Park, or ship things home every year. Some people leave the curtains up; some take them down. Some have shutters they put up every year; others think shutters are a waste of time.
My mother has been closing her cabin for almost 50 years, and she has been doing it the same way all that time. She's missed a few years since 1927, what with WW II and all, but if she had been here she would have done it the same every year.
I tried to convince her this year that the wave of the future was to just walk out and close the door.
In the old days the cabin wasn't insulated and the animals pretty much came and went as they pleased. We used to put the mattresses up on tables with little skirts of tin foil on the legs. Still, we sometimes found nests when we came back the following year. And, of course, the miller moths made a mess of the place, including the windows, so everything had to be covered or put in boxes.
But these days, except for a little dust, the little cabin stays clean through the winter, so I thought I'd suggest that she just drape a few sheets over things and walk out.
That was when I found out that closing a summer cabin is a little like a family funeral; you don't mess around with established tradition. Certain things in certain places. Otherwise you can't be sure where it will be next summer, and as we get older it seems to be more and more important that we can lay our hands on that teapot or lamp or treasured mantel item or fishing rod as soon as we come through the door.
In the long run, of course, it doesn't make much difference how you do it, as long as it makes you happy and seems to work.
Still, it seems to be an important ritual in our seasons, and serves as a reminder that although this summer is truly, completely and finally over, another waits just over the horizon.
© 1985 – 2003, David E. Steiner
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