Friday, March 17, 2017

The News from Magruder, March 12-18

We've seen signs this week that Spring is coming soon at Camp Magruder. Coming off the Daylight Savings time change, it has been very enjoyable to have so much daylight left at the end of the work day. There is a crisp feeling of life when you step outside the office door into light, knowing you have a little bit of freedom to go out and enjoy it. We have seen a few beautiful sunny days this week, reminding us of July and August when nearly every day will be sky blue and crisp. Spring likes to mix it up--a few parts Winter, a few parts Summer.

Last week we welcomed NWRESD Outdoor School Staff for their orientation. We saw several familiar faces and several new ones. This crew will become part of the Magruder staff family during their 13 week stay. They will depart just before our Summer Staff comes in. They will teach lessons to middle schoolers for weeks and weeks, right here on the coast.

This week, the first round of students arrived. We saw the big, long yellow buses arrive, a familiar, nostalgic sight to all of us. The staff stood out in the north ball field, cheering ready to welcome the students the moment they got off the bus. This group does a great job in that regard, making they students feel valued and welcomed. It's something that's important to us at Magruder, and it's wonderful to see other groups sharing those values in our space.

The day before students arrived, a group of high school counselors showed up to prep and train for the week. It was a beautiful day, with stretches of sunshine. It was a great day to be outside on the coast. It's days like these you imagine leading a group of kids into the woods to look for plants and animals, to discover all the amazing things just under our nose. You imagine yourself kneeling next to some great discovery with wide-eyed students falling in love with the world.

Of course, by the time the students arrived on Monday, the weather had totally flipped. It was chilly, rainy, and windy. So, those idealized images of lessons in pristine weather were chucked out the window for rain jackets, galoshes, and wet socks. Still the lessons must go on, and honestly there are times when less than perfect weather can make a memory more memorable.

The rain has also slowed progress on some essential maintenance projects that we just need a string of dry days to get going on. Over the next year we hope to replace roofs on three buildings: Walworth, Gatehouse, and Bunch. We're starting with Walworth, and we've even got the supplies delivered and sitting on top of the building. We just need five straight dry days for the roofers to get going. Based on recent history, that seems almost impossible. I have a hard time thinking of two dry days in a row in recent months, much less five. Spring is not a season of consistency.

Spring is a season of beauty, though. We are beginning to see early blooms open up around camp, and we know more are coming. Thursday I took a phone call out on the secret dock near the north ballfield. The sky was blue with cottony white clouds. The sun was warm on my face, I could feel color coming back to it after a long winter. As I continued my phone call, I walked on the dock and watched water come through the spaces between planks as weight shifted from one end to the other. I heard eagles call and looked in the sky to see a pair flying just north of camp, criss-crossing in the air. I thought about all the days I've spent standing on a dock on Smith Lake, blue above and below me. More of this is coming.

Yes, spring is at our doorstep, with it's unpredictable beauty. We can never really be sure what is in store for us. There are days we'll get it right and days we will be sorely wrong. This is also life, though. We can't get too caught up in our idealized versions of how each day should go. We might miss something even greater preparing to present itself.

This weekend Cedar Mill Bible Church is bringing a group of youth to spend a few days with us. Hold them and their time with us in your prayers.

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