Happy New Year, and welcome to 2017. We have already noticed the days getting longer at Camp Magruder. We are experiencing the cold snap along with the rest of Oregon, with temperatures staying below freezing for good portions of the day. We don't normally feel that kind of cold on the coast for extended periods of time.
Many of our staff returned this week following the holidays. I find an eagerness to get back to camp life after leisure and poor eating choices of Christmas and New Years. I am happy to take the time off, catch up with friends and family, and have the change in speed. That break sends me back rejuvenated and excited to do this work in this beautiful place. So, we have been shaking the dust off, getting projects started for a new year.
On a day like this, you can go out to the beach and see clearly all the way to the horizon where the Pacific meets the sky. Twin Rocks is crisp, dark gray. Then off in the distance is the coast range, Neahkhanie Mountain, and the houses of Manzanita perched on the side of the hill like an old hillside village. This is the type of day to take a long walk on the beach with someone. Get into a long conversation that will leave you forgetting about time and distance. You will reach a pause in your dialogue and be surprised by how far you walked. Along the way you'll be interrupted by the urge to point out some interesting way a seagull is standing or the adorable way the sandpipers play chicken with the surf. You'll point out an eagle every now and then, which are so clear on a day like today.
I discovered this morning that Smith Lake has frozen over, the first time I've seen this in my two years. There is a thin sheet covering the entire body of water. You see the watery texture, hardened by the cold as you step to its shore. Walk out onto one of the docks and you'll hear the pinging and cracking as the ice is slightly disturbed. Water will bubble up and run above and then beneath the ice sheet. It is an interesting contrast to compare the starkness and cold of the frozen lake to the openness of the sunny sky above it. We are in a world of contrasts, and it doesn't seem as if 2017 will be too different. Last year brought many unexpected challenges at Magruder, and we expect to see new ones in a new year.