Three mouse nights

We buttoned up the cabin this past weekend.

The pipes are drained and the towels and bed linens are put in heavy duty plastic bags and bins. All the food has been removed from every shelf and the fridge is empty. I took all the paper toweling and TP back home, too, in the hope that come spring, I won’t walk into a paper product Mouseocalypse.

We trapped three of the nasty little suckers over the weekend. They were scouts sent by the Head Mouse to see what the winter food situation was looking like in our place by the river. They must have been some of the more experienced scouts in the tribe because they managed to lick all the peanut butter off the traps twice before we finally outsmarted them.

Death by mousetrap isn’t pretty, but it is effective. When you have a cabin, there are always winners and losers. This weekend, the humans prevailed. Next April? We’ll see how well I mouse-proofed the cabin.

Saturday, we gathered with family for a bonfire at Big Sand as the bright yellow Hunter’s Moon rose high over the lake. It was the perfect evening for a fire. We joked and drank and inhaled the sweetness that is October in northern Minnesota. And as the sparks rose and the flames illuminated the faces of people I love, my heart was full even though I was missing my grandmother, who loved a good rip-roaring fire more than anyone else in the family. She would have loved seeing those faces around that fire, too.

We are a typically messy, extended family of middle-aged siblings and cousins who inherited places on bodies of water and then, because we weren’t quite complicated enough already, added to the messiness by bringing spouses and another generation of human children into the fold.  But for all of our messiness, we know we are blessed, too.  With good health and decent jobs and grown or nearly grown kids who find us all somewhat odd but lovable, most of the time. Some day, those in my generation will all be a mile up the road from where we were on Saturday night, at a cemetery in the pines, resting eternally beneath the moss. The cabins we fuss and fret and even fight over will belong to our kids. I’m guessing they’ll fight their own battles with each other and the mice, too.

But on perfect October nights, like the one last Saturday, my hope is that they, too, will stop long enough to gather around the warmth of a fire and bask in the warmth that is family.

And know its worth.

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