My friend Brendan has been in search of stillness, and he recently wondered what it is about cabins that promises so fervently to quiet modern life.
“If we could just get out there, we could finally think, without distraction. For once. Chop some firewood, write a book, drink cowboy coffee, and paint watercolors as snow piles up outside our tiny calm spot in the universe out there in the woods,” he writes.
Yes. Absolutely. I’ve mused that thought many times myself, and it always starts with “just once.” Strip away everything until you’re left with nothing but the smell of pitch and the sound of wind through the needles. Then you’ll really be there.
Stillness, of course, is separate from noise, from externals, and BL writes lyrically about coming to the calm that so often eludes us. But even if you can find your center without fleeing to the woods, that certainly doesn’t reduce the very tangible power of escape to a place. A cabin, yurt, lean-to, cottage, a-frame, bach, we travel to and enter in these shelters to see the world and ourselves differently. We move to them, we surrounded ourselves by them, as if putting on new clothes, a new hat, a new skin. Yes, you can find stillness walking down a Manhattan street. But it’s different from than you’ll find at, say, this cabin near Callicoon, New York.
This is a cabin at its most basic, a simple box with little adornment. The appointments are clearly considered — a wool blanket, a wooden tub, a clutch of feathers — but they are spare. Perhaps it’s because the cabin is located a few hundred yards from the main house and it doesn’t need to pull much weight, but no matter, the effect is one of, well, calm. A little shed surrounded by 130 acres, some fields to look at and a forest over yonder. What more could you want? Actually, if anything, you’d want less — a place to be, with little distraction.
The cabin is owned by photographer Matthew Hranek, who recently has begun renting it for $250 a night (no, not cheap, but what cost quiet?). As he describes it, it has: local roasted coffee (French press), Coleman cooler, Weber grill, outdoor fireplace, local radio, Japanese-style soaking tub, outdoor shower, list of local food, beverage, and shopping options. What is doesn’t have is: wi-fi, cell service, television, phone, iPod dock, room service, or mini bar.
A flask of whiskey, however, is available.
Yes, that should do the trick. Just once.
For information on rentals, email matthrewhranke-at-gmail.com.
Weekend Cabin isn’t necessarily about the weekend, or cabins. It’s about the longing for a sense of place, for shelter set in a landscape…for something that speaks to refuge and distance from the everyday. Nostalgic and wistful, it’s about how people create structure in ways to consider the earth and sky and their place in them. It’s not concerned with ownership or real estate, but what people build to fulfill their dreams of escape. The very time-shortened notion of “weekend” reminds that it’s a temporary respite.