Friday, November 20, 2015

The News from Camp Magruder 11/15-21

It was raining as the week began here at Camp Magruder. And, it kept raining. And, then it rained some more. It kept raining. And kept raining. And kept raining. Then, it cleared up a little. Then it started to rain again. By Wednesday, the rains had subsided, but the water left on the ground will take much longer to subside.

Just a few weeks ago, Smith Lake was as low as many of us had ever seen it. Parts of the swim dock sat on the ground. After the rain, it was difficult to get to the dock without first wadding through
some of the lake. Just a few weeks ago the Wetlands Trail seemed very inappropriately named. The marshy area that is typically covered with lily pads and swamp grasses was nearly dry. As the relentless rain kept coming, that area refilled, then began to pour out onto Old Pacific Highway, the camp's only outlet to Highway 101.

Old Pacific Highway covered with water
The water on the road grew, until it covered the entire street and the yards of the houses there. It was deep enough that on Monday morning, Camp Magruder Staff had to drive the trucks on site over the high water to pick up staff members with low profile cars. Even in the trucks that sit high off the ground, there was a moment in the deepest pool of water where the vehicle slowed down, and you wondered if it would make it. Water splashed up on both sides, 7 feet high, like one of those amusement park rides that promises, "You Will Get Wet."

With everyone piled into the camp Jimmy, cutting tire trails through deep standing water, it felt a bit like the staff morning commute. We would get out of the vehicle and disperse to our respective offices and work sites, start our individual tasks. But, for a moment we were one staff sharing one journey. In a way, we are sharing one big journey, though it's easy to forget that sometimes when our tasks give us tunnel vision. In a more metaphorical sense, we're always in that vehicle together, trying to get from one side to the other.

The second half of this week has been totally different from the first half. Almost no precipitation, and even some sunshine. The pools of water are receding, and the largest one has dropped low enough that even the most compact sedan can cross it. During my lunch break yesterday, I went to the beach to see the ocean under sunshine--something that has recently been an unfamiliar sight. Up and down the beach were large pieces of driftwood, some bigger around than my torso. Some of these large pieces of wood were in the surf, being tossed back and forth. The rivers must have swelled and taken these trunks and spit them into the ocean. Now the ocean was returning them to us for a time.

As we approach this time of giving thanks, this time of holidays and gift giving, it's easy to get tunnel vision, to attach ourselves to things, to activities. We make ourselves certain they are the most important thing, that we must attend to them above all else. We have this tendency to forget there are much larger things surrounding us. These things often sit quiet, surrounding us. Occasionally though, they remind us, there is much more, there is something much larger. That we should stand in awe at such amazingness, amazingness that we inhabit. Amazingness that we build together sharing each of our beautiful gifts. Sometimes it will come unexpectedly. Sometimes it will wash over us and change all the plans we carefully laid out. If we are fortunate, we will wake up one morning, though, and walk into the sunshine and know we have witnessed greatness and that we are a little greater because of it.

This weekend, we welcome Boy Scout Troop 799, Southridge High School Concert Choir, and Matthew Houser. This will be our last set of weekend retreat groups for a while. As you think about what you're thankful for, join us in giving thanks for all the groups who brightened our doorstep this year.

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