This is a memoir of our beloved family cabin nestled in the mountains of Colorado. It is told from the point of view of my parents based on years of story telling and memories. My sister is turning my writing into a video so the memories can be preserved for years to come. But I wanted to share it with you before it slips my mind.
Also the writing is best paired with this video my sister created. Some day we'll sink these words to the beautiful images she captured. For now, enjoy both, simultaneously if you are so inclined.
We pull onto the dirt road and familiarity sets in. With each gradual and bumpy mile the scene is set. Wispy aspens begin to line the road, new child size ones that grew in since last year, nestled among the strong and mighty we’ve waved to before. This is often the meadow where the deer might pop out to say hello, welcoming us back to their home.
“Keep your eyes peeled for deer, kids.” I shout to the restless travelers in the back. “The first to spot one gets a quarter.”
The side of the road begins to rise up around us as we settle in to the mountains. Trees on every side, waving, greeting, like arms open point the way. We roll down the windows now, soaking in the warm and earthy scent. With one sniff, another wave of recognition wafts through.
Then the sounds. The roar of the stream like wind through the trees. We crain our necks, peering beyond the brush. Ahh. There it is. We spy the constant steady rush now, the splashing over rocks, both powerful and inviting. It’s comforting because its one of the last signs we look for as we make our way closer. Closer to our home. At least for this trip. Our little cabin, the mountains, our place.
We’re not quite there but already I can feel the power of the mountains calling us home. There comes a point on this road when you sense the mountains working their magic, the way they always have. Times stops still. And not just the daily routine of life but time across generations. No matter how the world moves on advancing, modernizing, forging ahead, the time here at the foot of the mountains in this humble little cabin in the woods is the same as it was for generations.
The day is structured by the rise and fall of the sun. The deck on the back overlooking the stream is where we greet the day, sun rising over the mountain peak, coffee steaming hot melting away the frost of a chilly night.
Recreation is simple: hiking, fishing, reading, imagining, napping, sitting, listening or doing nothing at all.
Chores are shared, a reminder that cabin life is not easy but always rewarding. Food is cooked over the wood burning stove giving it that distinct taste no chef can duplicate. The basic two room structure gathers a large crowd, always making room at the table. Evenings close with laughter and stories around the fire, or card games under the glow of a lantern.
We don’t live this cabin life because its quaint and makes for a great story. We do it because it is necessary for the soul. Because we can’t help but return year after year to stop time, to breathe deeply, to appreciate one another, and to be humbled in gratitude and awe at the almighty beauty of these great mountains.
I’ll never forget the first time I laid eyes on the mountains that surround our little cabin. The Buffalo Peaks stood mighty, snow on top, the meadows nestled below. A sense of gratitude flooded my heart with that first look, forever honored to be of the very few to lay eyes on this mighty place.
That was 36 years ago and now as we approach the sign for the Weston Pass Summer Homes standing by the gate, ready to open, I turn around to release the eager kids to run down the path toward the cabin, toward adventure, like we have so many times before.
But the kids aren’t there. They’re grown now, and they will be arriving any minute with kids of their own.
Our kids, no, not kids but parents like us, will be weary from the long drive with little ones. They will be excited because they remember that feeling of adventure and freedom yet cautious, for they know this week with children is not a vacation. It’s never easy to manage parenting in a new place. We know this because we’ve been there, bringing our little ones here more than 30 years ago.
But like us, our children know why we do it. It’s time for another generation to experience the magic of the cabin, the beauty of the mountains. The memories they create here are timeless. The lessons they learn about valuing creation and living simply are those we want to forever live in our children’s hearts, to be passed down to each generation after. And we sing to the mountains in thanksgiving for this life gift.
Welcome home, the mountains sing.