August 16 – 22, 2019Vol. 21, No. 11

Log Cabin Elixer

by Rod Johnson

When you see a little log cabin nestled in a woodsy setting, smoke slowly rising from the fieldstone chimney, surrounding trees covered with a fresh blanket of snow, what visions enter your mind? For some who perhaps have no interest in living like their ancestors from a century ago, the log cabin may simply be just that, a little rustic cabin with minimalist furnishings and few creature comforts — offering little or no interest.

To others, this vision exudes calmness, comfort, security and simplicity — just to name a few. For those who have become burdened with anxiety from stressful jobs, a fast paced life or personal loss, a shot of log cabin elixir can be just the right prescription for their woes. Peaceful healing from within may replace or reduce the need for prescribed medicines. Visions of a quieter existence, a simpler lifestyle, self-reliance and un-entanglement may well become an elating concept.

Wow, this sounds like the cat's meow and perhaps just what the doctor ordered. What ingredients may well be part of this log cabin elixir? Imagine a cozy fireplace ablaze coupled with a pot of comfort food simmering on Grandma's Glenwood stove. Shelves of potential reading that awaits your inquisitive mind to fill the long winter months — some of which are classics that you always wanted to tackle. Your knitting or other project bag is waiting for attention, with several items only partially finished. If those don't fill the hours and days, let's not forget the one-thousand-piece puzzles waiting on the top shelf that no one has attacked for decades.

The plentiful woodpile just outside is dry and covered, the lanterns are filled and globes are clean, with several gallons of additional kerosene and wicks on hand. The outside cooler is packed and the larders of canned and dry goods are stuffed. A walk to the village is only one mile and the new pickerel snow shoes, recently splurged for at [L.L.] Bean's, are standing in the corner. The ice fishing traps and chisel are hanging up in the shed.

As the winter proceeds into a deep sleep, you notice that you too are sleeping like a log! The days are short and easy to pass with chores around the cabin, exploring the area on skis or snowshoes and occasionally setting a few ice traps on the little lake nearby. As mid-winter approaches, the guppy birds (woodmen's friends) have become your daily visitors and expect the feeders outside to be restocked on a regular basis. As spring starts to peek around the corner, the likelihood is that the now rested patient who signed up for this special elixir will be completely cured of any demons, with self-confidence galore, ready to take on the next chapter in life. Anyone want to sign up?

Rod Johnson was born and raised in the Belgrade Lakes in the 1950s and '60s.