Miranda – A Short Story – Part 1

Miranda, steaming mug of tea in hand, walked outside through the old screen door her Grandfather had hung when he built the cabin over 60 years ago. She paused to make sure the door closed. A habit long ingrained by her Grandmother who would let out an unholy yell if the door stood slightly ajar lest the flies or mosquitoes get inside. Miranda smiled as she heard the reassuring creak of the old springs and the snap of the latch firmly closing. She loved this place.

To her there was no other place on earth that brought her such a feeling of contentment and joy. This cabin, nestled in the woods, and only a long stone throw from the lake, was her special place of refuge.

When her Grandfather acquired the land and started to build the cabin, first and foremost he made sure it met certain conditions. Her Grandmother laid down the majority of those conditions. It wasn’t that Gran was overbearing or pushy but she was a woman who had certain expectations, none of which were unreasonable.

First, the cabin had to have a direct view of the lake. Second, she wasn’t about to either place her bottom on the seat of an outdoor toilet or put up with the inevitable smell and flies that come with such a facility. Indoor plumbing was a necessity. Third, it had to be built so as time went on and their family grew, it could accommodate their children and grandchildren. Last, it needed to have a porch that encircled the cabin. She wanted to be able to sit and enjoy the views on all four sides. Grandpa met these conditions and more.

The cabin was situated so it had a southern exposure at the front to capture the light. The large overhang created by the roof of the porch and the tall standing spruce and cedar, kept the sun from shining directly into the cabin during the heat of a summer’s day.

The main living space was at the front with a large kitchen at one end that opened onto the dining and living rooms. The bedrooms were all on the north side of the house to ensure some degree of coolness for sleeping. However, with the lake nearby, large cedar and spruce all around, all one had to do was open the screen doors on opposites sides of the house, lift a few windows, and the cool breezes kept the cabin comfortable at all times.

The exterior of the cabin had a very rustic look. The walls were covered in quarter rounds cut from the same trees he felled to make the lumber for the cabin. The bark was left on and this gave an impression of a log cabin. To add to the impression, Gramps had filled the chinks between the uneven slats with mortar to make it look like the gaps were filled with mud. It was a wonderful sight.

It was an incredible night. The air was cool but not chilly. A full moon shone a moonbeam across the entire expanse of the lake and the beam connected with the pier at the end of the main pathway. It appeared to be calling her to come down to the lake. She obliged. No lights were needed tonight. The moon adequately lit the way. She saw the lights of cabins across the lake, saw one or two small bonfires, and could hear people laugh even though she was a long way away. Such was the stillness of the evening.

She walked to the pier, sat on the end of it, put down her cup of tea, took off her sandals and dangled her feet in the water. She could hear the plaintive call of a loon. There was no other sound like it. She liked the sound. The calmness of the water was occasionally broken when one of the cutthroat trout that populated the lake broke the surface to catch some unsuspecting insect. She smiled and hoped most of the catches were mosquitoes. Losing a few thousand more of them wouldn’t break her heart.

She was lost in her reverie when she felt, more than heard, someone behind her. She wasn’t expecting anyone to be here when a voice said, “Hello Miranda.”

To be continued…

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