Cabin Days

Kelsey Breseman
3 min readMay 28, 2024

Sunnyside is rain days by the fire, fresh buttered sourdough with my aunt's salmonberry jelly, spreading devil's club salve on my growing belly when I can feel the skin starting to stretch.

It mostly rains. It's easier to remember the two whole days without rain (one sunny!)— the rain days blur together: feeding the wood stove, boiling beans, foraging beach parsley and spruce tips in the drizzle. We read. I paint.

The squirrels ate a hole through the mattress in the cabin where I usually sleep, so Robert and I are staying in the loft of the main cabin. It's warm from the fire, spacious enough, though you can hear the rustle of blankets or sounds of dishes from down below.

Our apartment in London is a loft, which I had thought fairly inconvenient when pregnancy prompted peeing in the night: down the stairs, don't knock over his bike, through the kitchen. But here, it's a full obstacle course. On the night of the full moon, I wake in darkness so complete that my muzzy brain has to check proprioception that my eyes are open. Hand up to touch the rafter so I don't concuss, then crawl to the hole in the floor. Climb down the footholds embedded in the wall above the couch, touch ground, pull on coat and boots to go outside.

It's a good thing I've been feeling so much better. I'm myself most of the time, just quicker to tire.

Beth and John fly out after a week. Robert carries rocks from the river ten minutes down the beach, first by hand and then by canoe-load. He starts to line the muddy part of the stream. I have the energy to help, paddling with him and stabilizing the canoe while he selects rocks.

We run low on fresh food and start to boil a lot of beans. In town, my aunt is a conduit for fresh-caught shrimp and buttery black cod, so we eat well again. There's a grocery store again in town, but at $1.50 per banana, we're judicious. Food is easier for me than it has been for many weeks— now I just have to make sure I'm eating enough of it.

"I'm not supposed to eat anything that's been out of the fridge for more than two hours," I inform Robert, eating last night's shrimp. There is no fridge here, of course. We have a cooler that we sometimes put ice in, and a tote we leave outside because it's still pretty cold out in May.

I find it easier to feed myself well when cooking for a crowd. Sourdough for one is a loaf that grows old. Here I can simmer soups on the fire, and we eat many times a day.

It helps to take care of things. The fire needs tending. We're hungry. Someone needs help with the boat. Unlike in the city, there is a useful reason to get up, to do something.

In an apartment, I feel every action an indulgence, and most things— work, learning, entertainment— moderated through screens. With only a backpacking solar panel to charge phones in rare moments of sun, and internet a walk to our generous neighbor's rainy beach, we are sparing. It's light until ten, and then we sleep.

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