Up Here Down There
... and out there in elsewhere
Published: September 1, 2007
Like cell phones, I don’t work up here in cabin country. I leave my work down there, in the big city, where it belongs.
Photo by Douglas Freer
Sure, in a few more weeks, I’ll paint the window trims and eaves while it’s still warm enough and take out the dock and drain the water lines before it gets too cold. But up here, that’s not really work. Work is something I do down there.
In the fall sometimes, when I’m snowed in up here and can’t get back down there, I think, Wow! I could live up here. Get a job building docks and fish houses, or something. But, would that spoil everything? Wouldn’t I want to go back down there to get away from work up here?
One spring, tired of our jobs down there, my wife and I decided to take a six month advance on our retirement to go on an adventure while all of our body parts still worked. We quit our jobs in the city, sold our home and headed west towards a fresh, beautiful elsewhere.
After driving around elsewhere for awhile, we found we liked Washington’s central Cascade mountains. We placed a classified ad in the Wenatchee, Wash., newspaper. We kept it simple: “Homeless couple seeks interesting shelter.”
Two cabin owners offered to rent their lake cabins to us – the happy vagabonds. For the season, we rented a furnished cabin out there, east of somewhere, on the shore of Lake Wenatchee in the Cascades. It even came with a canoe and the promise of an excellent sockeye salmon run.
Yep, we were out there in elsewhere alright. The cabin was also up there. No mail delivery. After we asked the postmaster how we could get our mail without going down there, we bought a mailbox, painted 15790 on it and nailed it to a post along with several other boxes alongside the main road to up there.
Cell phones didn’t work up there either. And neither did we. For six months we enjoyed the three R’s: Reading, Riting & Relaxation with some occasional liquid Refreshments. We hiked, we fished forrainbows in the Little Wenatchee and Nason Creek, we swam.
From the cabin deck, we watched the sun sink into glacier capped
mountains at the head of the lake. On rainy days, sun breaks treated us
to our limit of rainbows arcing across the lake in front of Dirty Face
One morning towards the end of August, there was a
chill in the air and a speckling of snow atop Dirty Face. Over the next
several weeks, the snow line slowly descended, pulling a white sock hat
down over Dirty Face.
When it reached his chin,our season out
there was over. We drained the water lines and went back there, to the
big city – to re-pay the advance on our retirement account. But it was
one of the best investments we ever made.
If you find
yourself spending too much stressful time down there, maybe it’s time to
spend some real time up here. l
When he’s not up here or out there, Paul Sullivan lives and writes down there in St. Charles, Ill.
Photo by Wendy Brown