Another spring, another ride aboard the M.V. Jiimaan, another cottage opening. I always hold my breath a little as we turn down Stone Road and approach our schoolhouse for the first time each spring. How will it have fared through the long, harsh winter? Will we return to find missing roof shingles, damaged shutters or worse, a family of raccoons living in our attic? I exhale as soon as I spot our house through the clearing. Aside from one downed tree, all looks well.
Opening the door and entering the schoolhouse, I’m met by its recognizable smell. A little bit musty, a little woody, I am comforted by its familiarity. I pause to take a look around assessing the interior for any signs of damage. Nothing Pledge, Pine-Sol and a good sweeping won’t fix. I dawn my Latex gloves and get to work.
My husband, Rob meanwhile is eager to fire up the chainsaw and address the toppled tree. He cuts and chops for hours that day, pausing only to join me at the picnic table for lunch. Later, we move the seemingly endless supply of wood to the pile under the old lilac tree. During one of my wheel barrow runs, back and forth, I look up at what I know to be an overgrown bush and wonder how old it could possibly be; its fragrant flowers moving in the sweet breeze that has made our afternoon of heavy work, a little lighter.
The reward at the end of the day for me is a stroll to the beach, a bike ride, a great supply of wood for all those summer bonfires… Home again and so much to do.