Friday, November 18, 2016

The News from Magruder 11/13-19

This week has been accented by a quiet that hasn't been familiar in about 7 months. Last week, we bid our last outdoor school group of the year farewell, and we have our last major retreat weekend beginning Friday. The camp will begin it's hibernation phase. The kitchen staff will get a break from nearly three meals every day of the week. Lights will be turned off and stay off for a bit. As the rain and cold take their residence on the coast, we are also finding ourselves easing into new rhythms.

Last Thursday, several of us went out to dinner with Northwest ESD's outdoor school staff, who would leave the next day. We went to the new Thai restaurant in Manzanita. It was packed inside, so we ate on the little porch under the cool night sky. We swapped stories, jokes, fun facts about ourselves. There was this collective exhale you could feel for all of us. The work was coming to a close. We could recline in our patio furniture with a warm plate of pad thai, and just enjoy the company of one another. They would not have to wake up tomorrow to prep for the next group, they wouldn't have to get their lesson plans together, go over student lists, or coordinate with teachers. It was a great opportunity to live in the present moment, to enjoy each other.

We've had some beautiful evening skies on the coast this week. Nearly everyday has offered a sampler platter of coastal weather. We'll see overcast, drizzle, sunshine, cloudy skies, dark opaque night sky, then starry nights accented by the late arriving super moon. As we reach sunset (which is happening around 4:45pm these days) many days the clouds have opened up just enough to let sunshine reach through and play with the colors of the ocean and sky. It's created some beautiful backdrops for an evening stroll. These are moments you want to put everything else in your mind on the shelf so you can fully enjoy what's in front of you. Out on the beach on days like this, it's pretty evident that there aren't many more compelling things around for the time being.

The Magruder 2017 Budget has been my primary focus for the past week or more. It is my first time to be in charge of the Magruder Budget, so I wanted to give it a particular amount of attention and fine-toothed combing. It is a way of translating visions and dreams into numbers. There are so many things to consider, so many things to prepare for, so much to prioritize. We look at how we will take care of our guests, our staff, our grounds, even the world around us. Money is certainly not all of it--it won't solve all our problems. But, irresponsibility with those resources will harm us more and more as we go along. It is such a challenge to look at an entire year and further in the course of several days. Once the budget was finished, though, this feeling of exhale came for me again. The feeling was certainly there because the task was finished, but it also came because of how the work brought our dreams and goals into clearer focus. It was exciting to feel this closer connection to all we might accomplish next year. It makes it easier to relax in these slow months, knowing our plan more intricately.

This afternoon Dan and Katherine Moseler visited to see the camp for the first time. Dan is the Conference Disaster Preparedness and Response Coordinator, and he wanted to check out our tsunami evacuation areas and trails. I got to show him our beautiful camp, while we talked about issues we hope we won't see happen. We climbed the big dune to the points where we will evacuate in the case of the big earthquake. It has a beautiful look-out of the ocean, which on this day was very calm and dark blue. We made our way through the camp, looking at our buildings, and I told Dan and Katherine about how much has changed at Magruder since it opened in the 40s. How the ocean had receded with the building of the jetty. How a shipwreck was recovered when they excavated the basketball court. We made our way on the beach path to the ocean, and there it was again. An absolutely beautiful scene sprawled out before us.

All of us were on a time limit. We would need to get going and on to some of our other tasks. I had emails to send out and prep work for our weekend groups. Dan and Katherine would need to leave soon to get home to Hillsboro by dark. But, in that moment, we couldn't resist stopping for just a few minutes for nothing other than looking. Seeing the sun beginning to color the sky through the clouds. To see the ocean calmly arrive at beach sand. To see Neahkahnie and the other great coastal mountains behind it, because the air was so clear. We needed to inhale a few times. Exhale a few times. Just be in that single moment, and let the blessings of that soak in.

This weekend we host Rose City Park United Methodist and Southridge Highschool Choir. We hope you'll join us in prayers that their time is full of blessings and moments to exhale.