We’ve had many old friends come to visit this week to remind us of the time of year. Women’s Emmaus is currently here on spiritual retreat. I can see a group of women walking down the road towards Pilot’s Knob, so they must have given them a break to get out and enjoy this beautiful day. It is a almost nostalgical type of spring day. The temperature is warm, the sun is bright. The buds are visible on the trees, preparing themselves to pop open and shade the ground with new leaves. Basketball is on the television almost constantly, and baseball spring training is on the radio. We opened the windows today in the office, and the smell of cut grass floated up from down the hill. The animals have begun to make their presence known as well. In cabin 7, the women were startled to find that there was one more guest last night than they expected. It munched on a leftover package of crackers and kept someone up past bedtime. But, it didn’t stop with the fury little creatures. Some wasps woke up and came to visit cabin 8. Jim went to the cabin armed with a broom, hoping to take down the nest, but he didn’t see one.
Our Oxley and Wilderness Directors, Tiffany Dowdy and Alyssa Jones respectively, came down to meet for some director training earlier this week. Alyssa got some fire building training. As we were at the Waterfront fire-ring sifting through some ashes to get the fire ready, a small bug flied up out of the ashes, and I recognized it as the first mayfly of the year. In just a few months we’ll have more than we want to deal with about every two weeks. But, for yesterday, one little mayfly sprang up from the burnt wood like magic. You never know what you’re going to find when you go digging things up.
Earlier in the week I went out on the disc golf course to get rid of some barbed wire that had been found near the course. Before Lakeshore was Lakeshore, there was an old home place near our high ropes course and the sewage treatment area sites. There is a long line of metal fencing, left over, I guess, marking property or marking a pasture. Here now, we want our disc golf course to be challenging, but we don’t really want tetanus to be one of the challenges disc golfers have to endure. So, I went out with cable cutters and came back with tougher hands, rust stains on my jogging pants, and more rusty fencing than any of us care to deal with. While clearing the fences from hole 12, I found the corner of a piece of tin sticking up. It was a strip that might be used on a tin roof. I had tried to pull it out before, but it was obviously under the dirt some, and I didn’t spend much time on it. On this day, I became determined to get this tin out of the ground. I was a bit confused by how difficult the little piece of tin was to get out. I kept kicking away dirt and finding out more and more. By the end of the task (which took at least 20 minutes), I had about 6-7 feet of tin, and had had to cut several roots as big around as my thumb to get it out. It was amazing to me how quickly these roots had grown over this piece of metal. It took a great deal of maneuvering to get the metal out. It’s not always difficult to remove even the things you know aren’t good to be where they’re at.
Travis and Jim have spent a good bit of the week working on the waterfront. Corky had surgery on his rotator cuff this week, and has been out of commission(though Josh could probably tell you some funny loritab related stories). The guys are redoing the boardwalk with hopes that it will be more stable over the years. They rerouted it so that it turns off earlier on the beach to get to the dock. The dock, now, doesn’t get as close to the shore where the river tends to rise and move the dock. The new location can be sunk into the ground a little better.
I saw two other old friends of ours, back for a visit, for the first time today. The pair of Canada Geese showed up on the waterfront. If things go right they’ll be followed around by a set of goslings in just over a month. I walked down to the beach to deliver a message to Travis and watched them picking around near the soccer field for food. One of them was nosing around for food in the ground, and the other had its neck high, standing watch for the other. I imagine them as an old married couple who always come back to us on their anniversary to raise some more kids. They are almost always together. It is one of my favorite noises here to hear them get startled and flee to the water, honking with a high pitched squeak similar to the voices of the junior high boys who will be visiting the camp before we know it.
We are lucky to welcome all these. As I welcome all the great things of march: the sun, the leaves, our geese couple, fresh cut grass, baseball, insects, summer staff applications, the NCAA tournament, and people in love with this place we call Lakeshore, I hope never to forget how lucky we are to get to welcome all these things from year to year.
Be in prayer for the Women’s Emmaus walk that will be here the rest of the weekend and the Boy Scout group staying in our tent and trailer area. And, get out and enjoy this weather.