Friday, April 22, 2016

The News from Magruder 4/17-23

The Spring continues to tighten it's grip on us out on the coast. We still see the clouds, the periodic rain, but there are more and more beautiful days full of sunshine and warm air. These days beg you to
walk slower, to tidy up the outdoor areas we reside in because we'll be spending more and more time there.

After we started the week with sun and warmth, a marine layer creeped in late Monday and thickened as Tuesday went on. It had this beautifully eeire effect on the surroundings, getting caught up in the needles of the trees, creating a translucent screen in front of the mountains across the lake. All day long, it seemed like we were locked in the same time of day.

We hosted St. Pius Catholic School this week in addition to a very large Northwest Outdoor School group. With two school groups, we staggered meal times and seated one group in the upstairs dining hall and one downstairs in Chappell Hall. Weeks like this are a change in the regular routine. We spent time running dishes, cups, and silverware upstairs and downstairs through the loading dock and the back kitchen entrance. It was certainly a bit of a chore, but the novelty of it made it a little exciting. I got to interact with kitchen staff a little more, especially Big Mike who ended up covering the downstairs a lot this week.

In my life, I've often found an excellent way to get to know someone better is to do some work with them. Just carrying out a task side-by-side gives you a connection. You've been through something together. You get to know each other's work habits, strengths, and weaknesses. Work almost inevitably leads to conversation too. I've learned so many interesting things about people I never would have, just standing next them washing dishes. There's something about cleaning dishes that encourages good conversation.

I led boating for half of St. Pius' group on Tuesday, the day it was so misty. As I waded in and out of the water, launching and bringing in boats, I found the water fairly warm by Oregon Coast freshwater standards. The several weeks of sun must have warmed the water up, where something was left over, even when the sun was shielded from us. The next day, we had puffy white clouds, but lots of sustained sunshine, one of those days where the clouds are bright white and just accentuate the blueness of the sky. The teachers and I couldn't stop talking about what a pretty panoramic view we had, standing at the edge of the lake, a window full of shades of blue and green opening up in front of us.

I've been really drawn to Lake Smith this week, partially because I spent so much time leading activities, but there was some other force pulling me there too. One day at lunch, most of the seats were taken, so I got my plate and took out walking on the Tide Pool Trail until I found a lakeside bench. I sat there surrounded by the salal, listening to water lap against the shore, taking in that view of the blue lake, the layered green mountain, the deep blue sky, white clouds passing through it, all while I ate my food. The view itself was a sort of food I was taking in.

In all this time I've spent near the lake this week, it's look different nearly every time I've visited. It's amazing how you can know a place for days, weeks, years, and somehow still be able to see it new. This world we live in is constantly growing, speaking something new to us, giving us some beautiful new picture to examine. I look forward to the ways we'll know this place, the people who pass through it, as we take part in the work, side-by-side.

This week we welcome Morningside United Methodist, Cornerstone Church, and Lynchwood Church of God Men's Retreat. Join us in prayers that these groups are changed by the beauty of a retreat on the Oregon Coast.

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