It’s the second weekend in April and the trees are all bare in Ottertail County in Minnesota. The fields are quiet and empty; the ground is a gray-brown.
The lake I come back to is no longer frozen (an early thaw). Nearby Battle Lake bustles with tourists in the summer, but it’s quiet now. Many stores won’t be open until May.
It’s breathtakingly beautiful in my eyes and in my heart. This is the perfect time to be here, weeks before the rush.
Mom and Dad bought this property on Dead Lake the year I was married, 1977. I’ve never lived here, only visited. But it’s home, home to many memories, both good and bad.
It’s the home of many card games with my brothers, Mom and Dad, and my sister-in-law. It’s the home of Mother teaching my daughter Caitlin how to make lefse, a Norwegian staple. It’s the home of birthday parties, wedding anniversary parties, retirement parties, and tea parties.
It’s the home of mourners gathered to comfort our family when we lost my brother Todd and then a few months later, Mother. It’s a home in transition. It’s a home with a For Sale sign out front.
In every room I breathe in the beauty my mom created. It’s all still in tact. It was her artistic creation and I wouldn’t think of disturbing a thing. It’s just the way she wanted it. It’s how I want it.
Dad wants to sell the house furnished. I get it. Who would want to take the first well-placed knick knack off a table? Who could take the pictures off the walls?
Last night Dad and I were talking about chapters in life. “Yes,” he said, “and you can’t go back and rewrite those chapters.”
No, we can’t.
I’m not prepared to close this chapter. I do pray for strength and peace to grace our lives when that day comes. For today, I will enjoy this slice of heaven in a place I call home.