It is a great time of year to be at Lakeshore. There are some oaks, elms, and beeches that are still resisting losing their green, but most trees have submitted and turned to their reds, browns, oranges, and yellows. We have rain, we have sun, we have wind, we have cool and warm air. It is a time when we have a little bit of every season. Today is a windy day. The large trees are dancing, swaying side to side. I hope to go down to the river to see the waves kicking up, pounding the sides of shoreline, tossing our docks all around. I’ve got the window of my office cracked right now, and the wind feels better than the air conditioner ever does. Everything’s moving and dancing.
This week, we hosted West Tennessee Camp Bluebird, a camp for Cancer Survivors. They have been doing these camps here for a very long time. They are very good at what they do. The decorations they come up with are always so impressive. I’d like to get the leaders for these camps to do a junior high camp sometime. This year their theme was a New Orleans Mardi Gras, so we had bayous set up, lots of plastic alligators, and Spanish moss in the Bradford Pears at the front of the parking lot. The highlight of the week for me(and a highlight of my whole time here at camp) was on Wednesday when the Bluebirds had a parade. Just picture standing at the flowerbed and watching a train of Cancer survivors walking up, dressed in bright costumes with masquerade masks, others standing on the hay wagon (also decorated in bright colors) throwing beads. Dixieland music is playing in the background while the King and Queen of Mardi Gras lead Corky’s truck pulling the Mardi Gras float. Corky is wearing a top hat and masquerade mask as well. People are dancing in the parking lot to “When the Saints go Marching in.” I stood there, watching, so happy just to be witnessing so much fun and happiness, so much life.
I also had a chance to do teambuilding for a group of adults from the Benton County Chamber of Commerce who are part of an annual leadership program. We spent a good bit of time doing trust walks, where one partner would lead the other blindfolded partner through the woods. They did the “human camera” exercise, where a partner would pose the blindfolded partner at something they wanted them to “photograph,” and then have them open their eyes for a split second to take a mental picture. While they were off on these exercises, I practiced taking mental pictures on my own. I closed my eyes and walked around, randomly positioning my face in some direction, and opened my eyes for a split second. It is very interesting how particular images stay in your mind and you can vividly bring them back. I still have in my mind the view looking up through yellow sweet gum leaves, fingers spread open like star fish.
And we do this, sometimes without knowing why. Holding onto images, both good and bad, some stick, some don’t. We forget some things that we think we should consider memorable. Then we hold onto things and don’t really understand why. I hope that I can hold onto these images of all the dancing, all the life moving in front of my eyes. One that stays with me at the moment comes from that Mardi Gras parade. A helium balloon managed to escape from someone and left the ground. In the midst of all the laughter and joy there on the ground, I watched the balloon fly higher and higher–so high it became a little dot in the sky. Up towards the stratosphere, flying to some new fantastic place I will likely only see from the window of a plane. A piece of our celebration lifted up so high that we eventually couldn’t see it. But the image, for now, is still there in my memory. And, it is a good memory.
This week, Lakeshore has the weekend off. Many of the staff are traveling, so keep in your prayers that we will return safely. Hope your weekend is a great one.