Sometimes all you remember are the squeaks

March 3, 2012 | My Jottings

Sometimes in the middle of winter, when the snow is deep and the temperatures are low, you think of summer.

When you’re sitting in your office and looking out at the breathtakingly beautiful landscape with a foot of new-fallen snow, you’re thankful for the awesome views, but you’re thinking back to the warmth of August and a few days spent in a cabin resort deep in the north woods of Minnesota.

And while you’re sitting in your plaid flannel nightgown looking out at the drifts, you remember what it was like to feel the warm summer breezes of August and to swim twice a day in the resort pool, splashing around like a child again.

And you sigh as you recall how sweet it was to sleep in past 5:30 each morning, and how perfectly fine it was to lay down for a rest (or a snore, depending on who you are) in the middle of the afternoon if that’s what you wanted to do.

And while you’re watching snowflakes the size of feathers drift down from the grey sky, sometimes your mind goes back to last summer, and the anticipation you felt for being together as a family and hearing laughter around a shared meal, and the squeals of happy grandbabies on the swings and in the pool. And you remember how much being near the water calms and renews your spirit, and how delightfully amazed you were to see actual pelicans on Pelican Lake.

And as you pull on boots and wrap a scarf and find the snow shovel, you have a pleasant summer flashback of driving into the resort and seeing your cabin for the first time, and tossing up silent-but-loud thank-yous to God as you carried in your food and your suitcases and your hope.

And sometimes during the long Minnesota winter, when the sounds you hear are the quiet roar of the furnace, the crunch of steps taken in snow, and the scraping of the giant blade of the plow clearing your street during the night, you think back to the sounds of summer at the resort in the deep north woods of Minnesota.

You think of the sounds of water lapping on the shore of the pristine lake, a stone’s throw from your cabin. You recall the crackle of a wood fire after dinner, with children’s giggles as they hold out marshmallows on sticks to be toasted. You remember the better-than-Prozac calming of the soft breeze that rustles the birch and poplar leaves in the million trees around you. The birdsong…the soft splish of a paddle dipping repeatedly as a canoe skims across the lake to a fairy lagoon.


…you remember the eerie, high-pitched creaky squeaks of the bats that live on the porch roof right above your cabin’s front door.

Almost within arm’s reach.

The two dozen little bats that sit watchfully during the day amidst their own guano, following you with their shiny eyes as you come out of your cabin to go to the pool, the back deck, the lake. The bats who’re waiting for dark so they can wing out into the night with mouths open to gobble mosquitoes for hours. The bats with blond furry bodies and dark, jointed legs. The squeaking bats with little cat-like ears, and sharp little teeth that can be easily seen because they’re just a few feet away from your head. The bats with quick, furtive movements as they scurry deeper into the eaves when you stop to gape at them with a mixture of fascination and horror.

Yes, those kinds of bats.

Sometimes, in the middle of a north woods winter, with snow all around and no spring in sight, you think back to your last summer in the north woods. And you dreamily remember the lake, the pelicans, the canoes, the lily pads, the naps, the togetherness, the pool, the sunshine and the happiness. You recall the birds singing and the wolves howling and the breezes blowing, and all the summer sounds that seem designed by God to help keep you tranquil and serene.

And then…you remember the squeaks.


  1. Ember says:


  2. Just Julie says:

    I agree.

  3. Linda says:

    I was with you every step of the way…starting to get all nostalgic & dreamy as you weaved a beautiful memory in true Julie style….until you described those squeaky bats! Mercy! I started laughing out loud as I pictured how my family would react to seeing & hearing those creatures so close by ….it was anything but serene! 🙂

  4. Just Julie says:

    You’re right Linda….those squeaks didn’t add a thing to the trip! 🙂

  5. Sue says:

    You had me lulled into fond memories of summer past…and then…wham! It turned into a bat story. I had my own run in with a bat in my bedroom (at 2 a.m. and of course dear husband was absent) this fall . It was not lovely at all. There was lots of screaming and ducking until we were able to convince him it was a better life in the wild. ‘Nuf said…let’s just say I sleep with the covers over my head. Say, did i just hear a squeeky noise?

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