Well if you can believe this!
Chloe and I packed up a weekend’s worth of clothes, food and the paddle board for a lovely Easter break at the cabin. A lush, semi arid, mid-province, late spring sunshine, lakes, wood fire, peace, no electricity, no cell phone reception, get out of town type weekend.
I unlocked the door and the first this we saw was last year’s bouquet of cabin greenery, (which we always leave as an homage to the cabin gods), tumbled off the table and on the floor.
A few seconds later we noticed that Dusty the bear, who we inherited when we bought the cabin, was torn in half and his head and paws were missing. We found ourselves trying to figure out if we were looking at the aftermath or a burglary or a vadalisation.
In fact it was both. It seems that I left a window slightly ajar last October, and even though there was a screen blocking the open space, somehow a pack rat got in.
We found a bunch of pack rat residence material all over the main floor. So Chloe and I cleaned and bleached and threw stuff outside till very late.
And then we went upstairs to the sleeping loft.
Let me just say that everything, and I mean EVERYTHING upstairs was torn up, peed on, or otherwise destroyed. So out went the blankets and pillows and mattresses and box springs and carpet and underlay. And from the main floor, out went games and puzzles and cushion and coats and sweaters. And then I bleach-washed everything.
Talk about spring cleaning!
We cuddled up absolutely exhausted on the sofas in some clean blankets I brought from the city and went to sleep.
Saturday morning dawned bright and cheerful and one could almost ignore the disaster around us.
I walked down to the pond and found a pair of Canada geese standing on the rock in the middle like nothing at all unusual was happening this morning.
But something unusual was. There was a mountain on ruined stuff to be disposed of, and poor old Dusty the bear needed a decent send off.
I felt so sad you know.
But as I was ripping out carpeting Friday night and throwing 25 years of accumulated blankets and treasures into a burn pile, I was thinking how five generations of my family have affected this beautiful place with their energy, and that is a thing which can never be destroyed.
But I felt particularly sad for Dusty the bear who has been an anchor at the cabin for all these years.
He will never be replaced…at least I have no idea how he ever could be. I’m firmly against trophy hunting and there is no way I would actively go out and buy a real bear skin (except the one I bought with the cabin). Although I do go hunting for smaller over populated animals with my bow, I recently went and checked the best bow sights and decided to buy one. I felt like a sort of guardian of the spirit that was Dusty, who happened to end up on our wall, and now that he’s gone, I felt like he needed a proper send off.
So we built a pyre of a bonfire with fresh fir and cedar, had a moment of gratitude, and laid old Dusty to rest.
And then we burned the lot. Everything. Carpets, beds, blankets and pillows and quilts, magazines, underlay, coats, sweaters, board games…we burned and burned all day long.
Somehow in the clean-up, one of Dusty’s paws was saved, and so we put it into the glass medicine cabinet along with the hummingbird skeleton, woodpecker skull, silver ore, and other family and cabin treasures.
Later in the afternoon, after I was sure the fire was just smouldering, we drove to the nearest little town of Pemberton, to the hardware-home store, for air mattresses, a little battery operated inflater, batteries, mattress covers, big plastic bins, and a rake for the rest of the stuff to be burned.
And Saturday evening came and the hope for a more peaceful Sunday.