I went to my sister’s cabin in New Hampshire for two days this week. It’s right on Lake Winnipesaukee, and I …was…nervous.
I was going away without rob and Maddie, as they both had to work. It was just me, Morgan and Quinn, along with my dad and nephew. I dont like being away from rob as he helps me stay grounded in this new life, but I was with family, so I knew I would be ok.
I was also nervous because I’d been warned no WiFi, it’s cooking over a fire, just like camping but there are cabins. I’m a girl who needs to have warm showers, dries my hair with a blow dryer, and have a special diet.
But i didn’t think about what was there, because i didn’t have any frame of reference.
I had heard from my mom and dad and sister that it was heavenly, but until you experience it… you just don’t know.
You have to take a boat to get to the island, and there are no cars. It’s just woods and forest surrounded by a lake that is crystal clear. As we pulled up, Jill’s girls came running to the boat. We call them the “Sprites”, and they are like little fairies always running around. You can build fairy houses using pine cones, bark, pine needles and leaves or moss. Everywhere i looked there were fairy houses. It was perfect and magical.
My sisters husband Jake is a master at
Cooking over a fire. The meals we ate were amazing, and it made you slow down and appreciate the effort in making the food. You have to make a fire, wait for it to get hot, cook the food just right, use different sections of the pan for vegetables and for meat. So impressive.
Although they have a working shower, we bathed in the lake. There is something about shampooing your hair in fresh cold lake water. I felt baptized and clean.
I kept my socks on because of the chemo and skin peeling, but I swam more than I have all summer. It felt great. At one point my sister took a picture of me floating in the water. I was praying to Jesus to let me come back for years to come.
We took a hike through the woods and I called it my Forrest bath. There is research that being outside in the woods is healing. I believe it. We headed toward a place called “Pirates Cove”, and as we approached the kids came running that there were naked people on the big rock. I guess some take Forrest bathing literally. The naked people heard the gaggle of kids and quickly got dressed and left, while we all laughed and giggled.
We all jumped off this huge rock.
It was just like a rock we used to jump off of at my Nan and Pops lake house in Greenwood lake. I knew i would regret it if i didn’t jump. So i carefully climbed up the rocks to the big one, had a whole cheering section, held my
Nose and my breath and jumped.
I couldn’t believe I did it and was so glad I did.
I also went canoeing, and it was peaceful. I paddled our into the lake and had a good cry by myself, and prayed some more.
Then I came back to shore and got Quinn and we paddled and floated along together, just holding hands and saying we love each other.
Nighttime was interesting. We were all in separate cabins, and I had to put on sneakers, grab a flashlight, and walk outside to another cabin for the bathroom. As someone who is up multiple times a night, it was a process. But i got to see the moon over the lake and hear the night sounds and waves gently hitting the shore.
I spent time on the edge of their dock a lot, watching the sunrise on my last day, or sipping coffee with Jill during mandatory rest time.
I cried a lot with her, and she promised to bring my kids back as long as they want. We had to leave quickly in the morning as storms were approaching, and as i hugged and cried when we said goodbye, I prayed to be here next summer and would bring rob and Maddie. Rob would love it, as would Maddie.
Pulling away in the boat and seeing Julia’s sad face broke my heart. My three nieces all snuggled me, and it was wonderful. I miss when my kids were little.
The time away reinforced my feelings on being outside. I plan on going outside more in kindergarten. I also want to assign life skills homework instead of pen and paper. Wash the dishes one night, set the table, help cook a meal, make your bed, help with the laundry, rake some leaves. I also want to assign a yearlong assignment of 100 hours of play. Outside play, not sports, but in the woods, on the beach, in the backyard. We will see how it goes.
But being outside in nature soothed my soul and healed me even more. My blood pressure was 109/78 when i got to the hospital the next day, even after they accessed my port.
I had quite a week, and ended with a quick impromptu birthday for Quinn. He kept saying names right up to four hours before the party. He had fun, and I’m glad he has such nice friends.
Maddie finally finished work, and she has one week of summer. I feel for her, as she went to the rotc camp right after school ended then worked all summer. Add on AP assignments which have been all summer long…
I’m going to make sure we have a family day or two this week. Then school begins the following week and it’s back to the races.
But I’ll be sure to find some trees to hug when I get stressed.
May I continue to heal and be able to go back to the lake for years to come.
In Jesus’s name, amen.