Dad would walk ahead of us with the saw as we followed behind like troopers with the snow up to our knees. We’d been doing this since we were kids. It was a lot of work but always worth the effort, not so much in finding the perfect tree but in the time we spent together.
We were in search for the perfect tree.
My brother Rod stopped and pointed. “What’s that? I’ve never seen it before.”
Through the woods was an old shack of a cabin.
“Let’s take a look,” said Dad.
The cabin looked as if nobody had been there in a century. The nails were square. The roof sagged. Dad and Rod pulled the door open.
Inside it was a time capsule into the 19thCentury. A table and four chairs were in front of a wood stove. A bed stood in the corner with a mattress covered with a red and green quilt. Jars of food canned years ago sat on the shelves in a small kitchen area.
On the table was an envelope. I picked it up. On the front someone had written in a beautiful scrawling hand: If you are here read the note within.
I pulled out the paper and read aloud.
November 29, 1878
Welcome to the way station of the lost, the found, the curious, the tired, the cold, and the historians of time.
Make yourself comfortable. Take what you need. Leave what you don’t need. Leave extras if you have extra.
I only ask you to leave this space with thoughts of love, hope, and good thoughts for other travelers who pass this way.
May many blessings come your way.
It looked as if this letter hand been read by many over the years. Others had left their comments on the back of the letter and on a second sheet of paper inside. 1880, 1897, 1906, 1918, 1920, 1937, 1943, 1972, 1999, 2001, and now 2020.
We took nothing, but left our initials and the date on the back of the letter. My dad pulled a extra pair of socks out of his pocket and left them there with a note saying wear these if your feet are cold or wet.
“When your grandkids are older you’ll have to bring them back here Dad,” I said.
“Yes, indeed,” Dad said.
As we closed the door and hiked off into the snow I looked back to see a man wave from the cabin. I almost called out then he waved back then vanished into the air as if he had never been there. Maybe it was just my imagination. I don’t know.
This year, with so much uncertainty treasure the mystery, the joy, the love, and the hope of the season.
No matter where you are find your little cabin of peace and giving. Believe.