Labor Day

6 09 2010

It’s a quiet, grey day in the beginning of September. The air is damp and chilly after a looming thunderstorm rolled through and the rusting leaves are dripping clear, shimmering droplets on the wet pavement of the sidewalk. There is a faint smell of woodsmoke drifting through the air, though I don’t know how someone can have a woodfire in this dampness. The smell tugs me back about a decade and a half to when I was much younger, standing on the dock in northern Minnesota at our family cabin.

The air is crisp, clear and cold. The water gently laps against the legs of the dock and the banks of the shore, making soft slapping noises in the quiet of early morning. I am standing on the weathered wooden boards of the dock at Johnson Lake, clad in an oversized grey sweatshirt, jeans, boots and a plaid jacket that has been hanging from a hook behind the door in the cabin since before I was born. My cold hands are holding a plastic cup of water that I poured from a red plastic gasoline can that sits outside on the wooden porch (there is no running water and the only water we bring for the weekend comes bottled or in gas cans like the one my grandpa brought) and a toothbrush spread with a smear of red, white and blue toothpaste. I am supposed to be brushing my teeth using the water in the cup and spitting off the dock into the lake, but I am breathing deeply of the cold air that smells of woodsmoke and fall leaves. The quiet surrounding me is startling compared to the hustle and bustle that constantly permeates the air when in the Cities. I find that once I get past the disconcerting sense of displacement with such quiet, that I find it soothing.

This is one of the simplest moments in my life. I am surrounded by Nature, peace, wellbeing and calm. I immediately fall in love with the smells, sights and sensations and the scent of woodsmoke and autumn can always transport me to this moment and the safety that I felt as a nine-year-old girl standing on the dock on a foggy, fall morning.

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