My father’s legacy

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.

I have very few pictures of my dad at his cabin, but this is a great picture of him at 11-years old when he and his brother George used to be called Butch and Sonny and they and their friends enjoyed playing in the woods that surrounded their hometown.
He bought land in Northern Wisconsin and it has become a fine legacy for generations.
We watch the sun rise over a river deck he built.
And, after late afternoon tramps through the woods, we make our way back to a cabin that holds generations of memories.
It’s a work hard…
…play hard sort of place.
Where we can go a whole weekend without seeing another human.
We learn all kinds of bend but don’t break lessons from nature there.
Just look at the fine work a beaver did on this tree. I think it looks like an appropriately stretched out heart.
My sister Jenny and niece Erin built this snowman and it greeted us the next time we arrived.
You can turn the sound on for this video, but you won’t hear much but blissful silence.

6 thoughts on “My father’s legacy

  1. God rest his soul. He was a great guy and a great friend . I see a lot of good old COLVER in some of those pictures. He loved the outdoors and the woods.

  2. A beautiful tribute and what a wonderful place to go to get away from COVID life. I treasure my times outdoors now where I have my freedom to enjoy fresh air.

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