A Cabin In The Woods
By Audrey Carli

My son’s long distance phone request brought gladness. He had two vacation days from his employment. As a freelance writer I felt free to choose my days off. We both longed for my late husband, Dave, to still be living. He would have enjoyed the cabin he had built with family members and friends between his teaching years at a middle school.

Dave’s lifelong hope had been to retire in a forest cabin, and I agreed I would be glad for us to be together in that rustic abode. But the delight we shared at the log cabin’s completion was soon dampened when Dave was diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Prior to his passing Dave smiled at me from his hospital bed and said he hoped our family and I would enjoy family gatherings at the cabin. His love would be with us. “Be happy for me,” he said. “I am ready to rest in Jesus.” My pondering of the past faded when my son, Glenn, arrived to take us to our retreat.

Hoping for serenity, we rode to the golden log cabin edged by evergreens. The sun had set, and the black sky sparkled with diamond-like stars. Their brilliance reminded us of the Lord’s nearness in the natural beauty He provided. Psalm 19:1–4 came to mind: “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows His handiwork. Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night reveals knowledge. There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard. Their line has gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In them He has set a tabernacle for the sun.”

Soon after the fireplace flames warmed the chilly cabin, we heard blustery gusts shaking the trees. The forecast called for strong wind, and we hoped for no snow. That night in the cedar fragrance, I woke to wailing whooshes through the forest. The luminous clock hands displayed 3:10 a.m. Tossing in bed I heard another gust that startled and caused me to rush to the bedroom window to witness the wind whipping the falling snow into frenzies. I retreated to a chair near the fireplace warmth.

Soon the howling torrents had Glenn joining me at the kitchen table to sip herbal tea. “Mom, we might not get out of here as early as planned. But don’t worry, we’ll get back to work without delays.”

Weary and trying not to worry, we headed for our rooms to sleep until dawn. I woke to a wintery scene with the window framing white coated trees. Snowdrifts formed low dunes in the long driveway. Instead of worrying I savored the tranquility. If we got snowed in and trapped for a while, we would feel secure in the cozy cabin. We could don snowshoes and trek outdoors when the storm calmed.

No need to call for help, and cell-phone service might not work in the storm anyway. We had stocked up on food and water to last for several days. Instant oatmeal, packaged rice, dry soup mix, pancake mix, canned tuna fish, several apples, and a jar of peanut butter graced the shelves.

After breakfast we trudged on snowshoes through the white-fluffed woods. Silence hung all around as we explored the snowy trails. Snow bunting birds flocked and soared over the forest. Isaiah 55:10 filled my thoughts at the sight of pure white snow. “‘For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, and do not return there, but water the earth, and make it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower and bread to the eater.’”

During each pause on the trail Glenn clicked photos of the white-ladened evergreens jutting from the snow-blanketed earth. A frozen drift-bordered creek created a tranquil scene. Later, at the cabin, homey aromas filled the kitchen. We prayed thanks for our soup and sandwich lunch and then chatted by the crackling fireplace. Soon Glenn shoveled a path to his four-wheel drive vehicle. “We’ll be able to get down the driveway OK,” he assured me as we heard the snowplow clearing the highway.

With our supplies packed and the cabin locked, we paused for a few minutes and gazed at our haven in the woods. We agreed we felt fresh peace after spending time there basking in God’s creation, which Dave would have liked. As our vehicle bumped over the snowy road, we basked in the tranquility as part of Dave’s legacy. We felt embraced by God’s everlasting arms.

That night I lifted up prayers of gratitude for my son’s invitation to share our family’s gift from a loving husband and father. I later read  “‘The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms’” (Deuteronomy 33:27).

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Audrey Carli writes from Iron River, Michigan, where she focuses on the blessings that God bestows on His children through natural surroundings.