As the rest of Oregon was blanketed under feet of snow and ice, we watched from a short distance without much worry about driving to the store, just wondering if the supply trucks were able to keep the shelves here stocked. It has been interesting looking at the facebook and instagram feeds of all our Pacific Northwest friends at the mercy of January's winter wonderland. It has still been chilly here by Oregon Coast standards, but we aren't bundling up nearly as much as the people we see in our social media feeds.
Our first weekend retreat group of the year arrived this weekend, which meant we've still been occupying our time with off-season camp work. That doesn't mean we were sitting on the porch, watching the bald eagles fly over, nor were we working on our gaga game for hours on end. We have been doing a lot of prep work, a lot of maintenance, deep cleaning, lots of first of the year reports. We are switching onto new systems in many ways. We have a new online accounting program. Staff members are changing residences, we are planning for a summer staff reunion, some staff is prepping to attend a national camp leaders' gathering. We can see a great many things in our future, and we're trying to get the ducks in a row to be ready for it.
Speaking of ducks, several ducks have been spotting out on Smith Lake, even with most of the lake frozen over. It is an exciting time to enter into seasons where animals return. We will see those ducks swim around day after day, until we begin to see a mother with her line of ducklings following her beside the docks and under the boat house. The eagles are being spotted more frequently as well. We know it won't be too long until Gray Whales make their way past our shores, like old friends returning to visit.
When you work at a camp, you become in tune with seasons. You know the long hours and constant human interaction of the summer, the retreats of the spring and fall, the quiet and preparation of the winter. There are the seasons of animals and plants. The seasons of the Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad. The seasons of long days, the seasons of long nights. The seasons of rain. The seasons of sunshine. Sit with each day, and you will slowly pick up on the gradual changes, the same way you'll notice the ocean tides rising and falling if you spend enough time on the beach. Stay with it long enough, and you will begin to sense it. They will speak to you.
The deadline to sign up for our Summer Reunion passed on Wednesday, and we got to see the roster of people attending from the summer or 2016. It was so exciting to see each name, and go back to memories from the summer that each person occupied. They will take a break from their non-summer occupations. Some will join us from school, some from work, some from both. We'll talk and laugh about memories from last summer, and we'll begin to grow excited about what is in store this summer.
I love to see what camp does to people. I love especially to see what the work does. I've seen people grow up in the course of a year. I've seen people have revelations about who they want to be. I've seen friendships grow. I've seen people find inspiration to do courageous things. I've seen people really begin to be themselves. I've seen God at work in this. We've seen God standing side by side in these camp times. I see these names on this roster and know there are endless possibilities when we bring them together. And, thing of how the possibilities increase in just about 6 months when we had campers to the mix at the end of a warm sunny day, sitting around a campfire after spending several days knowing each other, playing our games, singing our songs, praying our prayers, growing close.
These are the days where we are sensing the seasons changing. It is in the weather, it is in the work. We are building, planning, growing our excitement like a sapling. Sun is returning and rain too. We will see familiar friends soon. We will make new friends as well. We will introduce many new seasons. We are readying ourselves. Readying ourselves for something great and beautiful.
This weekend we were happy to host Seattle Church of Christ's Winter Rally as our first retreat of the year. Here's to many more wonderful experiences at Camp Magruder in 2017.