Sell or not sell

Sell or not sell

Last week, I found myself sitting on the screen porch, the beauty of the night surrounding me. We’ve been thinking, recently, about selling our house and moving to something smaller, something easier to maintain. A smaller yard with fewer trees. I’ll be seventy-two this October; old enough to feel age closing in with her stiffening joints and the aches and pains of old age.

Then I realize what we have in this house where we have raised our children, a place where our grandchildren have visited and brought joy to our lives. Thirty minutes from Minneapolis and everything the big city offers. Thirty minutes from the airport; twenty minutes to the Mall of America; thirty minutes from everything the world has to offer.

Stillness as night settles in and a cloak of darkness slowly descends, looking eastward, with the reflection of the moon on the water and the barely perceptible thunder of the occasional airplane in the distance. A stillness found in the far north. The smell of lake water, freshly mowed grass, an occasional whiff of the remnants of my smoldering fire at the edge of the lake.

At certain times, the ambiance changes. There is a time when the fireflies sparkle against the trees surrounding the house. A time when the night sounds drown the distant traffic with the full chorus of frogs, crickets, and cicadas accompanied by the tap, tap of June bugs looking for a way through the screens, and the mosquitoes buzz as I lean back in the rocker, head inches from the screen.

I wonder at selling this north woods cabin a half hour drive from the big city and the hospitals and emergency care one thinks about at this stage of their lives. Then I remember our children in this place. The lake and all it offers. The hummingbirds tending the honeysuckle on the garage, the Orioles visiting the jelly confection I provide each morning; the early morning chorus of the wrens who claim the house three feet from the kitchen window. The squirrels and chipmunks are running to and fro past the downstairs patio doors; the wild turkeys that strut past the same doors in spring and early summer. I think of the whitetail deer that walk past those doors, never glancing to see me on the other side of the glass. The mallards, wood ducks, occasional swans, and loons that visit during migration, the immense flocks of Canadian Geese that have become accustomed to the safety of the lake during migration. Some years we have mergansers and the occasional flock of buffleheads as they pass through on their way South. From our vantage point, I have seen mink, red fox, and raccoons chasing gray squirrels round and round on the willow that stands twenty feet from the deck.

To sell or not to sell – I think I’ll reconsider the prospect of downsizing.

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