Back to the Hut: Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

Photo by Paul Mayer


The commute is short, but the shoes to fill are enormous. My writing hut, a cedar-shingled shed, is but twenty paces from the house, and everything is intact—just as I left it. Actually I haven’t gone anywhere. In June our daughter and her husband came out to the San Juan Islands “for a few weeks” and stayed for a few months. They lived in Brooklyn at the time but after a long stretch of New York City’s lockdown, they packed up their dog and everything they would need to work remotely. 

As Head of Communications for a beauty startup, our daughter dressed chic—at least the upper half—and worked Zoom seamlessly from room to room and often out on the deck. Our son-in-law is the founder and owner of a technology news aggregator, and as he’s encumbered with larger screens and monitors, I gave him the hut. There he worked from 8 am to 11 pm, seven days a week, if we let him.

Summer turned to fall, and fall to winter, before the two of them headed south like seasoned snowbirds. With everything in storage now back in Brooklyn, they are that free. My hope is that they left plenty of their good juju here. 

“You are our eyes and ears and ambassadors,” I mentioned as they were leaving. Indeed, their calls inform us on the state of the country as well as the precautions they are taking in navigating it at this time. 

The more knowledgeable one is, the more dystopian it seems out in the world.

And here we are, relatively safe on an island. Soon it will be a year. But my job is to a. stop counting, and b. move back into the hut with my writing. And that’s where I am now on this dark day in winter, at my pine table looking at a bay that appears like a void before me. Across the water, a dark gray ribbon of trees and a few blurry lights. And ever encroaching fog and clouds like an enormous erasure. 

Winter: when our skies are capable of outweighing the landscape. It’s almost mythic. Anyway, here I am.

I am still the small child on the sailfish before I could swim. Holding hands and wading into the water with a grandmother who wore rubber swim shoes into the lake. And later, fishing and jumping off the dock. These are the small square black & white photographs I have in a frame on my writing table. So that I may never forget my good beginnings. And so long as I’m not going anywhere, I can’t help but wonder whether my beginnings and end days might fold into one.

“We look at the world once, in childhood. The rest is memory.” Louise Gluck


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7 responses to “Back to the Hut: Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

  1. Hi Kim We’ve never met, you’re the only Ahrens sibling I don’t know in person but I’m getting to know you through your posts, which is lovely. Tracy posted a link on Facebook a few months ago and I found you! You bring a different world to someone living in London. We live in an apartment right on the riverside, across from Greenwich. Tracy and your lovely Mum have both visited us here. My parents and your parents were good friends, all through the Rotary exchange which brought Tracy to stay with us and me to visit your family home in Suffield when I was 18, in 1977. Gosh that sounds a long time ago doesn’t it?! It is! I went to see my parents yesterday, we are allowed to visit in a carer capacity, although they are doing very well on their own fortunately. It’s a good excuse to be able to visit though. We will join them for Christmas as long as we’re all happy with the state of play at the time. As you will have seen, vaccines have been approved here in the UK and they’ve started with the over 80s so I hope they will be seen soon. I wish you a peaceful Christmas season, and will picture you in your hut, with your view… Sally

    Sally Fletcher 07771926068


    • Wonderful to hear from you, Sally. I must say I feel like I know you. I’ve always heard stories of your family, and most recently saw photographs of you and your splendid flat in London.
      When this world opens up again, I’d like to visit. In the meantime, take care. Good to know your folks are well.

  2. Bill Funkhouser

    As always, a wonderful respite from a overly busy day in this crazy time. Thanks again.

  3. Kim, I love thinking of you in your beautiful island writing hut in the middle of this winter like no other. Wishing you inspiration and peace!

  4. So beautiful. Everything I’m reading is just so moving! Thank you so much for writing it.

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