Most people born and/or growing up in Minnesota and Wisconsin have, or because of family, will soon have, a cabin of some variety. Its almost a given. Its such a unique culture. Around Minneapolis and St. Paul, Summer and Fall weekends are typically full with Friday afternoon commutes (cabins are usually north from the cities, but not always) to the lake (most cabins are settled on some form of water...this is the land of 10,000 yah, know.) for a sort of unplugging and rejuvenation that is only found away from the hustle and bustle of work and city life. A weekend full of activities; fishing, boating, adventuring, bonfires, yard games, cooking for family and friends, soaking up the sun, reading a book and reminiscing about how cold and long the previous Winter had been. Churchgoers often skip the Sunday service during these months for added cabin time. It becomes THE place of worship and of utmost importance. I mean, if you own a cabin, there are only a handful of months to enjoy it. I don't say any of this sarcastically or as an accusation. I'm simply stating what I've observed (as an outsider of sorts). If you aren't from around here or are from around here but find yourself cabin-less, the culture can seem profoundly elite. Not the people, necessarily, but the necessity to follow the masses every weekend. Its just not easy to break in, personally, without a lot of money. Most of the properties have been snatched up and will stay within families forever.
I was born in Wisconsin but moved around a lot during my childhood having a parent in the military. As a result, I didn't "grow up" in this cabin culture and upon moving back to the Midwest, while in high school, quickly appreciated friends with cabin's. I spent a lot of my late teens and twenties visiting and enjoying friends' cabin's. So much so, now that I'm older, with kids, to not have Summer's filled with such great outings has had a negative affect on me. Friends have moved away and weekend work fills my Summer and Fall calendar. In all honesty, I am a bit of a hypocrite, though. My mother's side does own land, with a cabin of sorts, on a lake. But, its of the minimalist variety (which I really LOVE). Often, it seems more work than pleasure to have the family spend time there. That all may change as the kids get older (I can only hope) and maybe the thought of using an outhouse, pumping our own water, not swimming in the lake (for various reasons), bringing food that doesn't require refrigeration, and going without essential amenities us city folk are used to will be replaced by the quiet, simple enjoyment of each other and our surroundings, which seem uninteresting at first (mainly for the kids) but end up being a sort of balm only applied by time in a place such as this.
This specific entry is about my afternoon spent with some old college friends, while they celebrated 100 years in their cabin's life. There was talk of redeveloping the site, because its just time. But, before that happens they wanted someone to come document friends and family and the cabin itself. I was elated at the opportunity and found the experience to be just what I needed in the midst of wedding season. Thank you Erin and Peter, for having me out and letting me document such a meaningful place for so many people.
For those of you who made it through my initial ramblings, I've included a few photos of our own little plot of land in Northern WI. I love the modest, un-impactful way it fits into its surroundings and immediately brings me back to a simpler (technology wise) and less distracted time. Hope I see you again, next year, dear friend.