Friday, November 13, 2015

The News from Camp Magruder 11/8-14

It's been a quiet week at Camp Magruder. This is our first week without an Outdoor School group, so the buildings are dormant, lights out, heat turned down. They are waiting for a few more weekend groups this November, then they'll go into a mini hibernation. The only noise you'll hear in our lodges will be raindrops on the rooftop and gusts of wind from the ocean. The days have been grayer and the nights earlier. These are warm soup days. Build a fire in the fireplace days. Complete the work you've been putting off kind of days.

The rain is making itself more comfortable on the Oregon Coast. We've showers nearly every day, and over the weekend we could get close to 3 inches. Puddles are morphing into small ponds at camp, and Smith Lake is swelling to the point that it might spill out onto Old Pacific Highway. Steve and Rik chatted about rains of the past that have rendered the only road out of camp impassable. Then, they say, it becomes important to find the key to the padlock to the gate at the fire lane between us and Barview Jetty park. There are high surf advisories for evening, so it feels like our two bodies of water are squeezing us just a little. Just a little hug.

While out walking, I passed Jay working in the garden, pulling up all the vegetables that were past their prime, the ones that wouldn't handle the upcoming downpours very well. Some of it can stay, but some needs to be cleared out to prepare for next year. Jay's dog Delila was there as an assistant, begging for her owner to throw the frisbee or whatever twig she could find along the driveway. We are finishing up the harvests, clearing out for the winter rains. The Earth needs to be still here for a while, we are looking for some stillness as well. Sometimes it's important to have a period of waiting. It readies you for the future, for something big that is to come.

Also on my walk, I passed Gatehouse to see a Ford Ranger pick-up with a lot of bumper stickers parked in the drive. I knew immediately it was Ben, one of our 2015 Resource Staffers. Ben had come up for a surprise visit and to hang out with Peter. It is always such a blessing to have friends choose to visit you. Ben worked long, difficult hours over the summer, went through lots of stress and exhaustion. He could easily have said that he put in his time and was ready to move on to less strenuous tasks. Instead, he has come back to see us several times. It is what we want--that this place means more to people than the work there is, that the work itself is a blessing, and that those who take part in it want more of it. We didn't put Ben to work--he was an honored guest. We were happy to see one of this place's kids coming home.

If you go out walking at Camp Magruder during the week, you are much less likely to encounter someone than you would have been earlier. There are fewer interruptions to the sounds of the ocean, the crows, the seagulls. Every now and then, though, you'll still find someone here that's a part of this place. There are still hands at work, even in these darker, cooler, wetter days. We are working to give this place some rest, so we can give ourselves rest, so we can turn around and give our guests rest when they come to visit. Even if it is raining, go out there for moment, take a deep breath. There is a lot going on, a lot see and feel in the quiet.

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