The News from Magruder October 15-21

The coast is inching itself more and more into the rainy season as each week goes on. We have had rain nearly every day this week at Camp Magruder, but on none of them has it rained the entire day. Still, there is enough precipitation to make camp a pretty soggy place. The lake level is rising. The newts are getting more and more adventurous. The ocean is roaring, sounding like its even closer than it actually is. But, we are still having visits of sunshine nearly every day as well. For now, we are getting the sampler platter for weather: rain, overcast, sunshine, wind, calm.

It is incredible to me how our bodies are tuned into the world, even for people who live lives mostly out of nature. When it gets dark, our bodies are more compelled to sleep. When the rain and cold weather come, our stomachs call for warm drinks and our legs and chest call for warm, soft blankets. As the rain comes on and the nights begin sooner, we can feel the slow time of the year on its way to Camp Magruder, even though we still have about a month of groups. It will be the preparatory period, the time to plan, the time to deep clean, the time to redecorate. Then the afternoon sun comes out, and our bodies tell us it is time to go outside and be with people.

This week Outdoor School had a split week, where one school group is in for the first half of the week, and when it leaves another group comes in on its heals and stays until the end of the week. This set-up makes for a pretty hectic Wednesday mid-day. One group eats lunch at 11:00am, loads up their luggage, gets on the bus and leaves. Then another group of buses show up, unload their luggage, orient the new students, then have lunch at 1:00pm. It is an impressive logistical feat that happens multiple weeks at Camp Magruder each Spring and Fall.

While we were setting up chairs and tables for our upcoming retreat group, Kevin told me about how powerful the ocean has been this week with the wind and rain. He said driftwood was getting dragged out and tossed back onto shore, that some major reshaping was happening out there. He talked about how there was a large driftwood post that had been planted in the sand near the jetty early in the summer, and he wondered how long it would last. In the morning it was there, and in the afternoon it was not. We've had a large log blocking the center of our North beach trail way too large to move by hand that our chainsaws wouldn't cut through. It's occupied the space where the trail opens up to the beach for 5-6 months now. This week it was picked up by the ocean and set back down a little farther down the path. This is a time of turnover and transition. A time of shifting identity a little bit.

Hosting a site like this, we have so many identities. We are welcoming hosts. We help facilitate and
environment of learning where we hope to equip people to better do good. We work to get guests open to the spirit that might be moving in nature and in the community they build. We work to make people comfortable with this unfamiliar surrounding. We pray for people and hope that our time spent together transforms both of us. We hope that this time we spend together makes a difference, when we see the cars arrive all the way up to the time we tell them goodbye and turn the lights out.

On Wednesday, I made it back to the office after the 11am pizza lunch. I began getting back into my office brain, answering emails, drawing out plans for the work we have in front of us. The rain came down and the wind tossed the trees about a little. Several yellow school buses passed the office window. I could hear the commotion of students getting off the bus. I could hear the outdoor school leaders cheering with enthusiasm as if they hadn't just finished with another group moments ago. I smiled hearing all the sounds harmonizing into something that is quintessentially camp life. Another round of people transporting themselves to a new world, something for the body, mind, and spirit to respond to, to take in, the breathe out, and let it make some of them new too.

This weekend we are hosting the Oregon Mycological Society, a group passionate and curious about mushroom hunting. As they brave the wind and rain of the Oregon Coast, spend some moments in prayer with us that their time will be life-giving and memorable.


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