by Annette Meyer
This was just to be a day trip with an overnight, maybe two, just a pinch of time out of the work schedule for my son to show me a little bit of his life’s accomplishments in the past few years. It unexpectedly became an extended journey of self-discovery for me.
The Back Shack is a timberframe building, along the lines of a tiny house. Designed by a friend who is a timberframer by trade, and built in his backyard by a sincere apprentice (my wonderful son) in his spare time using leftover pieces from their other building projects. The Back Shack is, while eclectic, made with sincere concentration to detail. Signifying a longterm learning experience, (akin to a showing me what you’ve learned, senior project style) this labor of love is very much a work still in progress; imperfect in places, yet solid, beautifully unique, and quite useful for a cozy longterm shelter, as it was meant to be.
With a wall of glass windows on one side, one full-paned glass door to enter and high windows above on another side, the shack is well lit and even absorbs some solar heat on sunny wintry days. The upper loft is reached by a lame ladder leaning along the wall, but two rings on straps hang from the ceiling for those youngsters too adventurous to take the steps. One has to reach up, (maybe 7 feet or so!) grasp the rings as a gymnast, contort the body while lifting the legs upwards, slide inward and voila, one is sitting on the loft floor, easy peasy… well maybe so for you, but that’s definitely NOT working for me. I shall avoid both and enjoy staying downstairs to stoke the heater at night!
There’s future plans for a bathroom with a composting toilet. The pieces are stacked outside the building just waiting for some diligent person to put their effort into it, meanwhile modern facilities are accessed in the house nearby. Oh, just watch for bears and other nocturnals in the night.
My accidental exile has changed my outlook on how I shall approach my life from now on. I have gone from feeling trapped here and having no control over my own circumstances, to prayerfully becoming aware and finding answers for things that I didn’t expect to discover existed within myself. And now as evening arrives the sun goes down behind the mountain and I am a tad bit saddened.
This is the last evening that I expect to spend here in the Back Shack oasis. If I ever return it will hopefully be on purpose, and I shall come equipped to embrace and thoroughly soak in the solemnity of my surroundings. It’s sad that it took me so long to get with the improved the attitude program here, but it’s all built into the Master’s Plan for me, so I guess I can say it’s actually coming “right on time!” You have to review where you came from before you can effectively go where you are going.
The winds are fickle today. This morning’s daybreak ice pellet showers audibly signaled the temps rising upwards from the negatives, quickly shooting above freezing as forecast. The warmth in the front eased northward into the valley. The thermometer was to hit 41 degrees today; and it almost made it, leveling out at 37 before a wave of wind-driven raindrops turned into quietly swirling snowflakes again.
With the warmth, the snow banks had taken on density, an icy sheen encompassing every surface, laying the ice laden limbs lower, and somberly rattling together, even groaning as melted drops were shaken loose and careened downward, colliding below with a thud.
Walking has turned from shushing easily through dry powder to sinking into the crunchy crust, before sloshing through mucky white ice puddles. Everything will be slippery tonight when temps plummet back to frozen solid at zero degrees. From 37 to -1, that’s dramatic!
I am forever grateful for this shack, for the time away, for the comfort it provided while in my “next wilderness experience” for this time. I will keep the physical home fires burning for one more night of comfortable sleep, then rise and depart, making certain to take along the spiritual fire that has been rekindled to life within me while here.
Before I take one last look around in the morning to say my quiet goodbye, leaving only invisible footprints behind, then slowly close the door and walk away down a crunchy ice-covered pathway, I will pray.
Father, I ask for ongoing strength and spiritual guidance in the continual journey of faith. I know that in your mercies I will have greater realizations about the depth and width and breadth of these moments in time to come. That always happens, for Your purposes as my mind is opened to something that I didn’t know that I knew but then discover that seeds of greater truth were sown by Your Hand back there when it was a struggle, when it was a ‘walk in My Way and then you will know’ time of increasing Faith and Trust in You.
Father, you constantly connect more dots in the picture for me. I can never recall it all on the spur of the moment, but somehow your extended grace constantly reaffirms my dedication, the spirit of remembrance at opportune moments solidifying my resolve to continue onward, eagerly pushing in, diligently seeking, yearning and subsequently growing deeper spiritual roots into the firm foundation of I AM That I Am!
Father, Spring Up A Well In Me and let your constant guidance flow through me into others at Your will!