It’s been fairly quiet this week at Lakeshore. And when things are nice and quiet, you can relax, or you can be suspicious. It seems to me that Winter is sneaking up on us, and it will pounce at any moment. We’ve been lulled by this mild weather, and it’s only a matter of time until those cold winds swoop in and force us into sweaters and toboggans. But for now, Winter is just peeking around the corner at us, waiting for the right time.
Shay, our housekeeper, was a little weary of going into town for lunch, so she treated us to a hamburger cook-out earlier this week. She cooked up all the patties, and the staff was able to lounge on the patio outside of the Administration building. It was a nice day to be out chowing on a burger. I turned my chair to face the river and enjoyed the pleasant temperature. It is a pleasure just to sit outside eating a meal. For me, it slows everything down. You are just there with your meal and all you can see in front of you.
The maintenance staff, particularly Josh and Corky, have been working on the labyrinth this week. To line the path of the labyrinth, they dug out beds to plant trees, bushes, and flowers. With this being such a large task, parts of the beds remained in a sort of ditch form until we could get all of our plants planted. Then, every time it rained, these ditches would fill up to where the prayer labyrinth was lined with a system of moats instead. It’s hard to consider everything that will happen when you begin constructing your first prayer labyrinth. While the moat lining is pretty cool looking, the plants we chose for the area don’t do so well under a foot of water. So, this week, the guys have been filling that space in. And, it’s a lot more dirt than it looks like you would need.
There are some things you just don’t account for until they sneak up on you. If you want to have a guaranteed encounter with wildlife, I can tell you right where you should go, and, without question, you are more likely to come into contact with an animal than anywhere else at camp. Is it the clearing at tent and trailer where deer graze in the morning? No. Is it the waterfront, where the blue heron likes to croak and flap his wings very slowly to fly away? Not there either. Well then, it must be the creek where all types of animals go to get their water. It isn’t there either. The apex of wildlife viewing here at camp is Lakeshore’s kitchen loading dock. If you spend enough time there, you are bound to see something sneaking onto the stony concrete surface to infiltrate a garbage can full of unused leftovers. There was a point when theories floated around about a specific animal that turned the garbage cans over and chewed holes in the lids. I figured out, through several nights being in the right place at the right time, what animal it was–it is pretty much just about all of them. Raccoons, Opossums, stray cats, birds, squirrels, and even the camp dogs have been busted sabotaging the loading dock in the name of a free meal.
Though, the clean-up isn’t fun for these incidents, it is enjoyable just to sit in an inconspicuous place and watch. You’ll see the camp dogs, sneaking very carefully, constantly looking over their shoulder, praying that no one catches them. You’ll see birds arguing with each other, bouncing around, nipping at every crumb they can fit in their stomachs. There are no telling how many people who have been scared by a squirrel who was rumaging through the garbage can and got spooked by a person getting a little too close. I’ve seen raccoons, rumbling around like the garbage cans are their own play ground. They’ll disappears into the can, and you’ll just see it jostling back and forth like it’s dancing. Then, every now and then, a little head will peek out and look around. It’s almost worth the chore of cleaning up to see all these animals (almost).
Tuesday of this week, the staff went to Raphaels to eat, which is a fairly regular custom. I imagine, Raphaels owes the camp staff a lot of acknowledgement for keeping it in business throughout the weekdays. Anyway, we went in and turned around the corner of the dining room, to a long table that was out of site. Travis was the last one in, and he was greeted with a large, “Surprise!” from the camp staff and his family. It was the 20th anniversary of Travis’ first day working at camp. We celebrated with cake and healthy servings of Raphaels’ lunch specials. Gary and Corky both stood up and talked to everyone about the hard work and friendship Travis has given them and the camp over the years. Travis wasn’t sure if anyone remembered, so I guess we can count ourselves lucky that the only heart problems brought on by the event were likely due to too much pasta and cheese.
This weekend, among other groups, we are hosting a reunion for generations who enjoyed Lakeshore during the 80s and 90s. I was a camper during this time period, so many of these people will be ones who were my counselors as I was experiencing Lakeshore through the eyes of a young-un. It is wild, for me, to remember those times when Lakeshore was not quite as familiar to me as it is now. When it wasn’t exactly, “my turf.” When I was a guest to the place and other people were making camp happen for me. I think of that time and how it seems so different, without really all that much truly being different. I wonder how these guests now will feel coming back to camp after this passage of time. Time is another thing that sneaks up and passes right by you. One moment, you’re an awkward kid who’s just wondering when the next swim time is. There are these people 10 years older than you are, who seem so cool and together that you can’t imagine them even caring what your name is. You admire their wit and their confidence, never realizing that they are feeling exactly what you will feel in about 10 years when you are in their place. You don’t pay attention for a time, and there you are hosting a whole new group who are now wondering the same things about you, ten years older than them. Surprise! It’s your turn. Without even realizing it, you’re now the one who gets to do something. Stay on your toes.
This weekend we are blessed with guests from several different places: as mentioned, the 80s/90s reunion, Paris 1st Methodist youth, Savannah Youth, and a couple of individuals here to get away for a little while. Pray for our staff and for these guests’ time here. I hope you have a great weekend.