Groaning in the Winter Darkness

On Friday, Norma and I spent a delightful afternoon at Kathy Gustafson’s home that stands on the site of our old Scout cabin. A five-foot stump is all that remains of the ancient pine that stood just outside the door. The tree succumbed to last summer’s big wind.

I loved that tree, and weekends at the cabin 80 years ago. As we toured Kathy’s yard, memories bounced about. Neatly trimmed lawns have replaced the dense woods. Ducks and muskrats swim in a reed-fringed pond, where deer and an occasional bear stop by to drink.

The site is sacred to memory. Though the years have robbed me of easy mobility, but my mind remains nimble, filled with memories enriched like aging wine.

A few years back, Kathy invited me to tell stories to Cub Scouts and their dads who would be re-roofing the log outhouse built during early cabin years.  I looked into kids’ sparkling eyes and wondered what they would remember 80 years hence.

Scouting kindled my love for God’s other book and equipped me to organize wilderness treks from Maine to Alaska. Outdoor adventure stories filled my books. I plead with parents and youth leaders: build outdoor memories in your kids.

I thank God for Lester Park Methodist men who took me to the cabin and told stories around the red-glowing barrel stove as wind-driven snow filtered through holes in the log chinking. Gone are the ancient birch that, leaning one on the other, groaned in the winter darkness. Last Friday, I heard them again

Old Grandpa Lloyd