The Cabin by Estelle Cade

She came upon the cabin suddenly, as she reached an open space in her climb. Surrounded by tall pines, it seemed to nestle cozily into the clearing. A breeze set the pine boughs to whispering among themselves, while the sun-warmed needles on the ground gave out that familiar scent of balsam. On the porch a rocking chair dressed in a faded cushion seems to beckon her on.

Two old men, one wearing a cap, the other sporting a cowboy hat, are seated under a nearby tree, beside a small lake. Seemingly silent, they ignore her presence.

Quietly, almost holding her breath, she tiptoes up the path and into the empty cabin. Dust motes dance in what few sun rays manage to beam through the dirty windows. The fireplace in the center of the back wall holds only charred remnants of long-ago fires, and there are bits of paper scattered all over the bare wooden floor. Spotting a battered looking broom standing next to the door, she picked it up and began to sweep up the mess.

And then — the bears arrive. First a towering, fierce looking brown grizzly bear enters. Standing upright, she realizes, he will be well over six feet tall. He is soon joined by an almost equally large black bear. Lordly in demeanor, together they fill one side of the cabin.

Clutching the broom (as though this would help, she thinks sarcastically), she cowers in the corner nearest to the one door, as the baby bears come toddling in, tumbling and rolling around as babies do, nipping at each other and growling little baby-bear growls. This seems to agitate the adult bears and they utter a few deep warning sounds, and watch the babies intently.

“Oh good heavens,” she thinks. “Is one of those the mother? Now’s my chance, while they’re not looking at me.” She quickly whips around the corner, out the door and onto the porch.

“Safe at last”, she gasps, preparing to run — when crash — thud — oh, the porch floor is collapsing — what now — and then—

For goodness sake. Why am I on the ground here? Good grief — my hammock broke and threw me right out. What a peculiar dream — a cabin and bears and two silent old men. And it all seemed so real. And now I must go shopping for a new hammock. Anyone up for a trip to LLBean?

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