On the 28th anniversary of the day he died, I will honor my father’s legacy by enjoying its most tangible asset, the cabin he had built on a relatively isolated river in northern Wisconsin.
A welcome respite from our ordinary lives in any season, that little beacon of peace and fresh air has taken on more significance during these COVID-19-challenged times. It offered the best kind of social distance; we spent entire weekends roaming the woods and floating down the river without ever seeing a single human.
Family members safely isolated there following their travels home and while they waited for the results of their COVID-19 tests. Thanks to that cabin (and I do give thanks, every day), we were able to enjoy family visits in relative safety
Our winter project has been the rejuvenation of “Peggy’s Bridle Path”, a mile stretch along the river my dad dug out and intended to maintain as a walking path. He built nine bridges across feeder creeks and, sweetly, carved three chairs out of trees for himself and his grandchildren, Charlie and Katherine.
While overgrown and shifted by winds and water, the paths and bridges remain intact and we’re looking forward to bringing both back to life.
And, speaking of life, the woods team with it. Last week we startled a flock of turkeys and watched them all scatter to the top of the pines. I knew they were there, but I still jumped every time one flew out of a tree as I walked past, and this happened dozens of times. We saw both bobcat and coyote tracks (thanks to Google Images for the help identifying them), beaver dens and plenty of deer.
I know my dad bought that land to give him a taste of the woods he used to roam behind his house in Colver, Pennsylvania. He’d take us back there anytime we visited and show us trees carved with his initials and paths he used to hunt.
We don’t know the woods like he did, but we love it just as much and I think he’d be very pleased with that.