The river is high at camp this week. If the leaves weren’t falling, you might think it was early summer. There is water over part of the waterfront fire ring. The trunk of the willow tree that has begun to grow near the fire ring is under water as well. Today, though, the water is like glass. An occasional ripple drifts toward the shore from somewhere far off. The guys installed new lights on the basketball court at the Alford Recreation Center, which should encourage more night games there. We’ve had light there before this time, but it was patchy, and it led to many excuses during those summer camp Sunday night staff basketball games. You would see the ball coming out of the dark, and, if it was crisp, you had very little time to adjust, catch the pass, or even avoid it hitting you in the face. These arguments about where we play happen periodically. Many people figure their game would be better if we played at the Conference Center parking lot where the light is brighter and more spread out, so it easily becomes a way to comfort one’s ego for poor shooting or passing. If there were more light, I would have been better. I’ve never played on this goal before, and I’m not used to shooting here, or I would have been better. If we’d have played with a better ball, I would have been better. It’s comfort, but there isn’t sure truth which had more to do with the poor performance: the bad conditions or the player’s reluctance to practice more than once a month. Regardless, there are more lights on the court and more water in the river these days.
We hosted a mid-week group of about 20 called Heartland Cares. They spent time each day doing some things I would have liked to leave the office to do. They had photography time, hiking, crafts, and fishing. One man here hadn’t fished since he was five years old. He caught 3, his first a decent sized bass. One morning, I checked in with the group, and found that one of our guests had tried tossing a set of keys up to someone on the balcony of Calhoun, only to toss it onto the roof. Corky was not a good choice to retrieve them, because he gets vertigo, and Travis is not very comfortable with heights. I offered to climb up (half selfishly, because it sounded cool to get on the roof), but Travis very generously told me not to worry about it, that he would get it.
Miles took a trip to the vet this week. He’s had a bump on his shoulder a little smaller than my fist for a while. It’s shrunk a little, but then grew back again. It ended up just being some fatty tissue, but the vet thought it’d be good to remove it anyway. So, Miles has a section of back shaved with a sewn up cut across his shoulder blade. He looks thinner. The bump had made it look like he had shoulder pads. So, he’s on a regiment of antibiotics, pain killers, and ear drops for the next little bit. He makes groany/whiny noises still fairly regularly, which he has done for years. He is a dog of routine, and his most favorite of these is the afternoon walk Gary and Vickie take around 4:00pm. He is well aware of the time somehow, and begins pacing between their offices, getting louder and louder, whining and groaning, even yelping when he gets really worked up. It is sight to see if you are ever around on a weekday around 4:00. And, over the years, he has become more and more vocal. He will get worked up, walk to home in the woods with Gary and Vickie, then return to camp to lay flat on his back in a part of the office floor that will almost certainly block someone’s path.
We are in a time rises and falls. The temperature starts out cool in the morning, so you bundle up. Then, by afternoon, you have shed your long sleeves or you’ve started sweating. As much as many of us would like to believe that we are wild and crazy, always hoping for something exciting and unexpected, we tend to complain about the things that cause us to change something. Those things that pull us out of the routine or the plan. I walked back to the Tent and Trailer camp area (where we have our backpacking equipment currently) to check our supplies for the upcoming backpack retreat. I carried a walkie talkie with me, because phone service doesn’t really exist is that bottom between two ridges. I proceeded with caution into this storage area. The last time I opened this closet door, I watched a skunk waddle from it’s place in the front to a place farther back in the closet (I did not go back looking for it). There was no sign of a skunk, so I was able to check the equipment without fear of compromising my appealing, natural odor. Then I headed back to camp. About the time I hit the highway, I realized that I didn’t have anything in my hands, and that there should be something there. I finally realized it was the walkie, and I knew exactly where I had left it. I got two walks in this beautiful area as a result, but it took me a little while to come around to such a positive view of the situation.
Gary has been planting crocus bulbs around the prayer labyrinth this week with an interesting little tool that hooks up to a drill. This is the time of the year to be planting, and I can’t think of more pleasant weather to be doing it in (that is, so long as you have something to plant). Gary stepped away from the labyrinth for a moment, and, when he returned, found that his bag of nearly 100 bulbs was missing. He assumes that the dogs have relocated the bag, but, as of right now, the bulbs are still missing. Maybe the dogs had a better place in mind. It is these times, that I’m sure God is happy with his creations. We are, after all, very amusing.
This weekend we have a group staying in the Oxley cabin, an adult backpacking retreat, United Methodist Women Fall Fling, and a group from Jackson First UMC. I hope you will keep them in your prayers. I’m going to go outside now.