In trying to think about this entire week, it’s very difficult not to just focus on the snow that’s falling right outside my window even now at the end of the day. From what it looks like, the snow will continue to fall until sometime well into tomorrow. I have carved a path through this snow three times today, and my tracks have been covered over each time to where I could barely make them out. Fridays like this make you forget there was even a Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday. Today feels like something completely new. If you’re lucky enough to get to stay at your house for the day, you open the blinds, and white light pours in. Things feel fresh and crisp. You see the songbirds so clearly, hopping around, looking for seed. It’s like a new chapter of your life beginning–you could be snowed in for days–and you’re really not all that concerned.
This week we were supposed to have an Orders of Fellowship of clergy come in on Thursday and Friday. They cancelled as the forecast became more and more certain of itself. We waited as long as we could to see if it might be a little overinflated, but we also decided to cancel our 2009 summer staff and counselor reunion that was supposed to go through the weekend. It seemed too dangerous to risk all those young people driving from all across the state on snowy, icy roads, no matter how much fun we might have once they got here. I can imagine how it might be, though, snow men and snow forts all over camp. People rolling down hills on anything they can find. Snow balls flying everywhere you turn–I’m sure, eventually, several misguided ones flying in through the door.
But the only ones here this weekend will be the permanent staff members brave or crazy enough to drive a car down here or walk. I thought today how, even 100 years ago, weather like this wouldn’t be too much of a cause for concern. Most roads were not paved. And, most people would likely still get here by horse, carriage, or train. This snow might make things more uncomfortable for passengers, but not nearly as dangerous as starting up the car and driving on icy pavements. There are times that our new stuff that generally works better has some downsides that only show themselves occasionally. I think about how fantastic it would be on a day like today to harness up a team of horses, hop in a sleigh, and look at all of this, with no worries of crashing into someone or having your brakes lock up. If only our staff and counselors had a sleigh or a train to hop on. We could meet them at the station in Camden or even Eva with our own sleigh, our horses breath visible right in front.
As I walked down the hill from lunch today, retracing my steps from earlier that were nearly invisible, I saw about 10 deer running along the hillside across from me. They spread out all over the hill, taking different routes to get away from me. I looked at their prints just down the trail. They had been right where I was standing moments before. There were large spaces between tracks where they lept through the air when they heard me approaching. I could not hear them, distracted by the shivering of beech leaves and wind bringing snow and freezing it into my beard. The trees, the hill, the deer are all so much more visible in this new landscape. These colors don’t blend like normal into a gray and brown. It looks new.
It is exciting to see thing in terms of “first.” Corky and I went around camp earlier this week looking for places to plant some new trees that came into camp recently. There are small ornamental trees that will be fine to grow anywhere, but there are others that we want to be particular about where we plant them. We decided to plant a River Birch on the hillside above the waterfront, between the boardwalk and the vesper ramp. We decided to plant a Canadian Hemlock on the hillside between the administration building and Hopper Lodge. There is something impatient and excited going on inside me when we plant these trees. I am excited to be able to feel that I have seen this tree put in the ground. That I knew it as a twig. One day, maybe, these trees will tower over us, and I will know them in a new way. But today, I can know them as infants, so fragile. I want, when I am old, to come back and see these trees and know how something can grow over time if the conditions are right. I want to walk around and remember. To see how places change and think about how I will have changed.
A salt truck just passed by, trying to keep some semblance of a road going from Eva to the state park. It will be dark soon, but not the kind of dark you would have in warmer weather. Every bit of light will be reflected and we will find our way home much easier. I will continue to think, too, about when I walked to the waterfront earlier today. Everything was veiled in white except the river. It was browner than I think I have ever seen it. The mist of snow was so thick that I could not see the shores of New Johnsonville, so that muddy water could have been coming from the other side of the world, just finishing its journey.
Hope you all get to play in this world we have for these next few days.