First of all, I apologize to the driver of the burnt orange car the color of the Boston Baked Beans candy I like so well. My leisurely speed of 72 mph down Highway 10 near the Soo Line Trail was clearly too slow. I wish you clear roads in the summer, iceless roads in the winter, and short jail time when you cause an accident.
Secondly, to the engineers who erected the cement divider nearly as high as my window and to the astute highway department who posted the sign “vision may be limited” on the curve out of Elk River: What were you thinking??
Third, to the person whose distraction nearly caused them to take the left fork to Duluth rather than to Minneapolis, I say, “Keep your head in the game. You’re in the city. There’s actually traffic here and it’s fast.” Oh wait. Never mind. That was me.
And that was just the trip home. I was away briefly to a dear spot. Said spot’s water hadn’t been turned on for the summer yet. The electricity was, though, for which I was grateful; having worn what amounted to a miner’s helmet a few nights last year during some work which required it be shut off. It was fine, perhaps a bit quiet. It was not quiet when those near and dear to us discovered our plight and laughed rather more heartily than necessary as far as I was concerned. But I digress.
My brother knows all things house-related and I, well I can paint if it’s not in an important area. He was down the road in his own cabin, but he was very busy. I would turn on the water myself. I had done it before with him on the other end of the phone line coaching me, and had written it all down. There was around an hour of daylight left, and I felt only slightly hurried. I pried up the part of the floor reserved for such descent as I was about to make, lowered myself through it to the cold dirt underneath and with the lantern in one hand, crawled on my stomach in great GI Joe form if I do say so myself to turn the levers under the sink. They had already been turned. Out I crawled again, pushing from my imagination thoughts of small, furry, scampering things and slithering … okay I can’t even finish writing this. You get the idea.
I went to the sinks to turn the knobs all the way on to let out the air. They were already turned to on. I checked the list, and moved to unscrew the aerators on each faucet. They were already off. It was at this point I astutely realized someone had been here before me and already done these things. All that was left was to drain the hot water tank, put in the filters and put the pink stuff around them so they wouldn’t leak. I didn’t see any filters nor the pink stuff. So you know what this independent woman did, don’t you? That’s right. She texted her brother who came over and confirmed there were no filters and that it was too late to buy them.
It’s not so bad to be without water. We didn’t have running water there all during my formative years. The outhouse hasn’t moved anywhere. I did notice there was a dead mouse in the anti-freeze in the toilet. I respectfully closed the lid. I would give him privacy to lie in state.
I closed the doors to the bedrooms to preserve what heat I could through the night, lit a fire in the fireplace, watched one of the last nights of David Letterman, and slept on the couch.
Why, you ask? Why even leave the comfort and peace of my home for such a drive for such an overnight?
And for peace of mind and reflection, this.
Because, after all, some things are worth the trouble.
Photo of lake: Sarah/Jonathan Miller; video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eyU3bRy2x44