Friday, January 27, 2017

The News from Magruder January 22-28

It's been another quiet week at Camp Magruder from a hospitality standpoint, but nature has been asserting itself. As we continue to work in the office on catching up with 2016 projects and prepping for Spring, it is difficult to avoid catching yourself looking out the window or listening to the things happening just outside. I think these sorts of distraction are important from time to time. We must be sure we don't get so wrapped up in one part of our life that we forget all the other things happening around us.

We had high surf alerts over the weekend, so high tides rose much higher than normal bringing huge pieces of driftwood along with random trash and scatterings of tiny Styrofoam droplets. Tree trunks you would not be able to wrap your arms around were washed up into the stand of shore pines that outline the beach. Sand was dragged away, lowering the beach about 5 feet, making that stand of trees seem much higher.

Walking the beach after tides like this, I find myself wondering where all of this came from. Where did these trees fall? What type of journey did they take to find themselves washed up on our beach? I imagine a tree falling into a river and traveling down, getting stuck in and eddy for months, then broken loose by the spring rain. I imagine it floating out in the ocean for a time before being thrown back up on the beach. What a strange journey to imagine, then to stand on its trunk for this time it will rest on our shores.

Every beach entrance at Camp Magruder is clogged with these huge pieces of wood. Some are large enough to move by hand, but some will take many people along with chainsaws and axes. The obvious reminder here is how all our efforts are temporary. That trail we hollowed out and wore down to level will not stay that way. This world is moving and it shuffles around everything that comes to rest on it, including us and including our stuff. We can work to keep it in some kind of order, and sometimes will be successful. Sometimes, though, order is too ambitious a goal.

A pair of eagles have returned to camp and have been very active above the grounds. I hear them just about everyday, and if I am outside long enough, I will usually see them too. They squawk in this loud, shrill, high-pitched tone that resounds through the hole camp. They are the king and queen of the trees. Hope says that they get very loud in the evenings when she's retired to her apartment. I think too of what their world must be like, spending so much time in the tip tops of the Sitka Spruces on the big dune. I would love to decipher what they are saying to each other when they go on like this in the tree tops. What are they communicating? What do they notice about us when they fly overhead of us walking to the dining hall?

These days it is interesting how I find parts of our live in dormancy and parts of it very active. We are constantly in this state of flux with our life and the life around us. Some of our work wanes as other parts become pressing. We are compelled by some parts of the world and repelled by others. The eagles are with us, singing in the trees once again after being away for a time. The ocean nudges us
and carves up the land just a bit, and we know it will not be the last time. In the evenings when I go out, I will grow to know a few pieces of driftwood--I will choose a few to sit on to watch the seagulls and the sunset. For a time I will know it's textures and contours. I will have a favorite part of it to sit on. Then one day, I will go out to the beach to find it gone, taken out on some new journey to some other part of the world. For a time though, I will have touched it, I will have seen the God in it. When it has moved on, it will be time to see the God in something new.

We will take a week off from our news posts as the staff takes part in the UM National Camp Leader gathering. We will return next week, though, with more stories to tell. Let's pray for each other.

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