OLD TRAPPER’S CABIN
Written by Jan Bolinger
(To be read as if written by a young boy as a grown man)
As the winds begin to blow the cold air in from the high country, I begin feeling a familiar stirring in my spirit. Every year when I was young, my dad would take me to a cabin where his father had taken him when he just a boy. His father before him had built this simple wood cabin high up in the mountain area where he would spend the winters trapping which helped supply provisions for his family for the next year. Fur brought a good price then. The streams provided ample fish which, along with the provisions he took from his home town, kept him adequately nourished.
The first time my father took me on this adventure, I could not sleep the night before. I was too anticipatory of the adventures to come. I remember seeing a photograph of my great grandfather as a man of considerable years. He had a scar across his face. It frightened me as a child, hearing how that scar came into being. I would study that face and remembering the stories I had been told, tried to imagine what he might have felt going through that experience and living.
It was a long trek up into the mountains and my father had tried to prepare me for the difference in the air, the thinness of what would go into my lungs. He spoke about the quiet. I tried to grasp the fullness of what he told me yet I was not prepared for the intensity of the quiet. No radio, no phone calls, no sound of cars passing by, just the wind, the sounds of those whose land we had invaded, and the sound of myself just breathing. Full of youthful energy, I could not take in the enormity of this adventure in just one trip. It would be followed by many trips; each year, filled with more wonderment than the one before.
Each day was filled with tasks that if not completed, would work a hardship on both my father and myself. My face burned from the stinging northern winds, the snow blowing felt like tiny BB’s hitting me. Hands became weathered in short time and I matured in ways I wish all boys could. A great responsibility was on a young boy’s shoulders. We cut wood for the fire, set traps, checked existing traps, fished for our dinner, secured the cabin against predators or intruders. When the snow blew in high and hard, it meant time spent inside for days but provided fresh water to drink when melted over the fire.
I left on that first trip, a young boy full of himself. The hard work built muscles in my arms and chest and I saw myself develop that one winter from a young boy, into a youth of substance. I learned responsibility the hard way. One time not doing what was asked of me caused us to go without food for two days and nights. Dad said nothing and the quietness of that could be felt down so deep inside of me, I thought I might die.
It amazes me still of what God provides through nature to sustain us physically, spiritually and mentally. The fast pace lives we live cheat us of so much. That cold air blowing in from the high country is my call to take my son on the adventure of his life to the old trapper’s cabin built so many years ago. My hope is that my son will gain from his experience enough to build in him the knowledge of how to exist in the quiet, how to allow God to provide when things look bleak and to give him the confidence in himself to know he can be successful in anything he chooses to do. I also hope he continues our tradition of going home to the “Old Trapper’s Cabin” when he hears the call of cold High Country air whispering in his ear.
Written to go with my pencil drawing of “Old Trapper’s Cabin”.
I may have posted the drawing earlier in the thread. If so, I apologize for repeating it but thought of it as we are sharing about snow. I love snow. It covers the earth in the purity of white and covers the darkness of winter with light.