Friends couldn’t believe I would leave my clean, spacious condo in town and move to an old, tiny cabin way back in the woods. “One winter out there and you’ll beg to come back,” they said. “Think of the work just to keep it clean. You’ll cut off a toe; you’ve never chopped wood in your life. And what about the bugs and the bears?!?”
They were right about the bugs.
They crawled up out of the drainpipe, cornering me as I scooted to the back of the tub. I grabbed the shampoo and tried to inflict a swift and sudsy death. Desperately, I shoved the soap with one toe and prayed the darned thing wouldn’t hop. Down it went, into the depths of dank and rusted drainpipes. But my sense of security was shattered — no longer could I shower with my eyes closed.
It didn’t stop in the bathroom. The cats dropped three-legged colorless crickets on the top of my bed, and I’d watch in horror as they hopped in circles. (The crickets, not the cats.) From then on, any twitch or tickle I felt as I slept became imagined insects crawling over the covers and up to my face.
The drama didn’t stop inside the four walls. Outside, crows would swooping and invade the pines, watching and waiting for a chance to dive-bomb my cats. Flickers drilled their jackhammer beaks into bug infested logs on the sides of my home. The most dastardly among them made straight for the metal gutters leaving me frustrated and furious as I raced for the door and watched them fly off, taunting me with their cackling caw, caw, caw!
You’d think that leaving the door open to let in the breeze would be a welcoming sight, but it ruined relationships. After a triangle-headed alligator lizard walked in and under the feet of a friend, she joined the ranks of those who declined my invites to visit. They’d say, “Um, it’s too far of a drive. Find me on Facebook.”
But there were furry little fellows who filled the void. Black squirrels and red squirrels kept me company all day and into the night. They chewed a hole through the logs and got into the attic. I’d lay in my bed and hear them over my head, munching away on the wood and the wires.
Snakes hid in the walls between drywall and logs, crawling out from behind a south facing window and sunning themselves on the ledge by our front door. They slithered from under the heat runs, discouraging my efforts to clean up the mouse droppings. After months at the cabin with no snakes in sight, I’d hoped they’d moved on. And they had. My neighbors discovered a nest in their attic and threw all 18 of them back over the fence and into my yard.
It’s almost a decade since that fateful day when we moved to the cabin. Each morning I’d open the door, breathe in the piney fresh air and count the bugs, the birds and my blessings. I wouldn’t have traded it for anything!