My grandparents’ fishing cabin was not much to look at. It had a few small rooms, a “one-fanny” kitchen, and it sat on the bank of a muddy river filled knee-deep with silt. My grandfather bought it as a place to get away from the world (and, at times, away from my grandmother).
A little east of the cabin was an old shed. In its prime, the shed had been a “boat house,” but by that time my grandfather just used it for storage. I remember opening the door of that shed and immediately being struck by the stench of mildew and catfish bait. (Ugh!) As kids, we’d hold our breath, run into the shed, grab a fishing pole or canoe paddle or whatever we needed, and run out as fast as we could.
Eventually, my grandfather decided the shed had outlived its usefulness and potential. Plus, it blocked the downstream view of his river. So, one cloudy summer day my grandfather, my uncle and my cousins began the work of tearing down the shed. They ripped off the warped wooden siding around the exterior, and they took apart the shed until only the open framing and roof remained.
That’s when it started to rain. So, they took a break. My grandfather went into the cabin and brought out some drinks. Everyone grabbed a lawn chair or a stool, and they all sat under the roof of the old shed, waiting for the rain to pass.
They talked, they relaxed, and they watched the river roll by. Just then, a gentle breeze blew through the bones of what used to be the shed. “This is really nice,” someone smiled. My grandfather looked out over the river and nodded. It really was. In that moment, the “old shed” was gone, and a “gazebo” was born.
The gazebo became a fixture of life at the cabin. We ate there, we drank there, we laughed there, we even cried there. Now, I can’t remember the cabin without thinking of the gazebo, and how grateful I am that it rained that day.
We never really know the potential of what lies inside, whether it’s the potential in an old boat shed or deep within ourselves, but often we need to let go of what “is” or what “has been” to discover what’s truly possible.