New Rituals

The day was cool and blustery, finishing with rain. A kind of day I used to call an “Eagle Harbor day.” Eagle Harbor, Mich., on Lake Superior where I summered as a kid at my grandparents’ house and where my parents and uncle still have summer homes (though my parents are selling theirs).

An Eagle Harbor day can be crisp, bright, impossibly clear; or it can be gray, misty, filled with the wild wet of the pine woods. Today was the latter type, laced with oncoming autumn.

Marsh has been planning her rendez-vous’s with family, both here and at Dunns, the camp down in Oxford, ME where they’ve been going for years and years. Dunns is Marsh’s Eagle Harbor. And we’ve moved here, just two hours from the camp and its “pond” — a not inconsiderable lake.

Like Gloria and her family in Buxton, we are suddenly locals to the Dunns experince. Other family members make the pilgrimage. We can manage a day trip if we choose. So making the plan itself, and prepping the beach bags and charging the kindles and finding the towels and binoculars and fishing rods, all feel subtly different in our new home base. It’s an old ritual made new.

Yesterday we got the last of the insulation — from under the stairs — pulled out and disposed of.


Today we achieved a real milestone: we demolished the very last rotted framing known to be in the house, and replaced it. And we did it ourselves (no contractors).

The corner cleared, three studs removed, the rotted floor plate replaced.

A closer look, and the view outside where the ends of a few siding planks were also rotted.

From the outside looking in, where the siding planks have been trimmed out.

The outside view, after patching.

The new studs.