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Into the woods

Cabin camping is one of
our of fall family traditions. Though we are not the camping types -–
we don’t own a tent, a Swiss army knife, or any appropriate
gear  -– we succumbed to the idea of renting a cabin at
Letchworth State Park at the encouragement of friends, and have been doing it
annually for about a dozen years.

Letchworth is truly a  jewel, both in its natural and man-made beauty. The gorges are
breathtaking, and the stonework, paths, cabins and pavilions made by
the Civilian Conservation Corps 75 years ago are
beautifully integrated to make the park accessible and enjoyable.
Hats off to those who labored during the Great Depression to leave us
this wondrous legacy.

We took hikes in the
beautiful gorge (where our daughter pointed out the irony of Amish
hikers carrying a camera). Made my annual attempt to crochet
(unsuccessful again). Sat by a campfire (actually sang Kumbaya -–
but didn’t know the lyrics past the first verse and felt Murphy
Brown’s humiliation when she had to make up a verse to The
Wheels on the Bus
at a play group). Struggled to keep our fire
going (we used two boxes of firestarters, but who’s
counting). So we’re not the Ingalls family, but we enjoyed
being miles away from phones and laundry, and with no electronics,
kids made their own fun running around in the woods.

Our family of five
huddled in a cabin of less than 300 square feet, heated only by a
fireplace. Yes, there was electricity, a little bathroom, and a
mini-kitchen so it wasn’t totally roughing it. But every year
this journey into cabin life is a reminder of how little we need to
survive and be content. We are often at our happiest as a family when
we are at our simplest. So when we return home, our modest house
seems luxurious and we realize that 1,600 square feet is plenty and
if we can’t make that work, there’s something wrong with

More space, more stuff is not the answer, at least according to
the Small House Society.
OK, sometimes stuff is the answer …

Since 1950, home sizes
have doubled, while people have smaller families and spend less time
at home. Is it a surprise that this unsustainable lifestyle is
collapsing around us? Are we heading for a Depression? Will some of
us be in the new Civilian Conservation Corps, whose work relief program
will be to finally build Buffalo’s waterfront?  I doubt it … but
a few days of being faux Thoreau has helped this family get real
about what’s important … at least for the time being … until
we convince ourselves that our lives would somehow magically be
transformed if we only had a Wii.   


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