The fall arrived this week, and, ah, it feels great. Go outside and just instantly feel a little bit better. Moving around is so pleasant–you are not likely to sweat just by walking. The humidity is gone, and so breathing is even an enjoyable experience. The trees have also become aware of the fall, and the oaks are beginning to drop their acorns. The acorns make loud noises when dropping from 30 or 40 feet, and you can become a little paranoid this time of year. You hear the acorns during a walk and think there is something following you. You hear them on your roof and think that something huge has dropped from the sky onto your house. All around you things are falling.
Early this week, we had a quilters retreat with a small group of women. Quilts remind me frequently of time and history. I used to wonder why you see homemade quilts priced so expensively–I mean, they don’t cost that much to make, right? It’s not the materials that you pay for, it’s the time that is put in that makes the quilt such a commodity. To me, it can become a sign of heritage as well. My mother made me a quilt several years ago, and it is draped over the base of my bed, waiting for Allyson to inevitably get cold and pull it over herself in the middle of the night. It is beautiful too. Not only that, it will probably outlast me. It will likely be passed along down my family, however that goes and be a reminder of what has happened before when I’m not longer around to be a representative.
This week, I was out of the office from Monday to Thursday. I spent this time exploring Lakeshore’s unknown property. Lakeshore has around 800 acres of property, most of which is not used. I wanted to go out and discover what we have out there. I called it my Lewis and Clark trip. So, I strapped on a backpack with tent, food, and clothes for the 4 days and went into the woods. I saw so many things, so many new places, and a thought that kept coming to me over and over was, “this is Lakeshore too.” There are the buildings, the river, the pool, campsites, all of that–but there’s also this wilderness: hills, valleys, new creeks, tall trees, barely visable roads, overlooks to see far, low spots to hide and be away from everything. On the third day of my trip, I spent a little while at a high point on the property that had recently been forested, and you could see the entire valley leading to our tent and trailer area and so on. This was the first time in 2 1/2 days that I had seen something I recognized, and a feeling came over me very akin to the last day of a summer camp. I don’t get that feeling very frequently anymore, because, despite my emotional attachment to camp still, I know that I will be back and I know what is to follow. This was the first very new thing I had seen at camp in a very long time. I was a camper again, and I was already beginning to miss it. From then on, I got a strange feeling every time I came into contact with something familiar, getting closer and closer to main camp, closer to knowing the trip would soon end. Not a completely sad feeling, though. That feeling you have when you know you are a part of something special and you feel yourself getting older by the second. You know that things won’t be the same–that they can’t possibly be. You’re life is not over, there are many great things still in the future, but this chapter is closing. So you get a little anxious and want to freeze time, because you think like life is moving on so fast, and it is. You don’t know whether to mourn the passage of this wonderful time or celebrate it. One thing is sure, though: time keeps passing. There will be these moments of clarity where we look out over all of it, and for a short time, things seem to make some sort of sense all together. But then, we must walk back down into the forest where we don’t see so far around us, where rock-sized seeds fall left and right from the sky.
As I walked to Wilderness Camp, then to Tent and Trailer, then down that gravel road back to camp, then turned down the highway and saw the pool (that was just drained this week), then approached the Administration Building–a walk I’ve made so many times–I felt like I was walking back into a different world. While sharing the story of my adventures with the staff, I began getting comfortable again with my routines. My body decided it was okay now to start getting sore, I began longing for a hot shower, and I looked forward to Allyson and I’s trip to the Ohana Grill that evening. Time had, of course, kept moving on. Most things move with this pace. But there are still these feelings. These feelings that are scared of forgetting. That want to just slow it all down for a little while. But we are not slow movers, are we?
This week, we have the fall West Tennessee Men’s Emmaus Walk, Jackson 1st UMC Confirmation, Reidland UMC Youth, and two people beginning a new journey together in a wedding at our Tabernacle. Pray that their time here gives them what they need.
Some time in the future I’ll be posting video footage of my trip into Lakeshore’s unexplored country.