Yesterday I drove here, to the hills northeast of Llano, Texas and the upper reaches of Lake Buchanan. The day was bleak – blowing cold, damp wind, a threat of rain.
When I signed up for a seven day stay at this camp of eight or so cabins, the proprietor told me I’d be the only guest for the whole week. And then, as I stepped off his porch he added, like a post script, that he and his wife would be away for part of the week. The thought of being so isolated thrilled and scared me at the same time. But that evening I remembered how he had given me a questioning look as I walked away, and thought perhaps I’d missed some of his meaning. Maybe I should be frightened.
My cabin, which was probably built in the mid 30s, is about fourteen by twenty feet. At one end is a hammock-shaped bed and next to it, a lady’s dresser that looks as if it is original to the place. A shiny red metal chair with a black and white zebra print cushion is pushed into the knee hole. At the other end of the room is a refrigerator, a sink and a tiny, very old propane stove. A door between the refrigerator and the bed leads to a bathroom as diminutive for its purpose as the stove. I decided it would do.
On the short wall adjacent the sink is a stand with a microwave oven and auto drip coffee pot on top. These two items and a television sitting on a small dresser are the only signs that I haven’t stepped from a time machine into a long gone decade.
Except for the dresser, a small table and chairs, red curtains on the windows and the zebra print cushion, everything is painted snowy white.
Most striking about my Sabbatical Headquarters is the smell. Cashmere Bouquet. My nose-memory put me back four decades to my grandmother’s house. Still, I know I must look ahead to my purpose for being here, which is to empty my head of daily trivia and then fill it back up with publishable work.