Greeness has been sneaking up on us for the past few weeks. Right in front of our eyes, it’s been gradually spreading over the trees. The Beech trees finally let go of their brown, fall leaves, and the curled up leaf buds began to unfurl. We make comments like, “yep, we’ll have leaves before you know it.” “It’s gonna be green soon.” But still, that first day that you look around and you are completely surrounding by greeness, it seems like a revelation. I don’t know if it’s a perspective thing, but this spring green seems so much more vivid than the later summer green. It could be that I’ve just gotten used to the colors by June or July. But, it seems like the green now is much brighter and fuller than it will be months from now.
My friend, Randall, came up to help with summer staff interviews last weekend, and he stayed a few extra days. He is one of those friends that whenever he comes to visit, you know, against your better judgement, you will stay up too late talking. Old friends seem to have that affect on me no matter how old or sleep-deprived I get. We get this way at camp sometimes. There are, of course, the times that we hold rigidly to the schedule because it is important for things to run smoothly. In general, we want to get the right amount of sleep. We want to spend the alotted time at an activity. We want to get out of worship when we say we will get out of worship, so the next group can start their worship on time. There are occasions, though, when we see something in it, and we just don’t want to say, “stop.” We want to ride it out and see where this is going. Our conversations tend to carry on this way.
Of the many returns this week, baseball season was one of particular interest for me. Randall indulged me while I watched the first Cubs game of the year. As is the case with many things related to the Cubs, the game was a bit of a disappointment. But, not the return of baseball. Not the return of old friends. There is a comfort to it, no matter what else is happening. Even if your team is losing miserably, the game is there. You ease into the rythmn of innings, of pitches and swings. You know instinctively when to look up, when to nap, when sit up and get on the edge of the seat. You know these things with old friends. On one of the many gorgeous days this week, Randall and I sat outside on the back porch of the Administration Building. We’d talk for spaces of time, then be silent. All, though, was peace and comfort.
Another old friend of mine, Steven, brought his youth group on their first photography club trip. The came to take pictures on land that Allyson and I recently bought. It was a sunny day, and when the day was done, Steven and I both got enough sun to give you the impression we were wearing red shirt sleeves. We stayed out a little longer than our skin would have liked, but it is those times that you push a little longer that generally stand out in your mind.
We’ve also had our first NOMAD couple come to stay with us. The NOMADS are a United Mehtodist group of retirees who travel in RVs, staying at Methodist camps along the way doing work projects in return for a place to park. They came in on Monday, as Randall and I watched the Cubs get obliterated by the Braves. It is interesting to pull together two parts of your life–a personal friend with new acquantances who you will certainly know well before all is done. They have been building a new wood shed on the waterfront and tending to some of our more neglected flower beds.
The may apples have also returned this week, covering the ground like small, green patio umbrellas all over the ground. I’m told that if they grow large enough and in the right conditions that they will actually grow a fruit. I still have yet to find any may apples to sample. That could have to do with the fact that it is still in April. I guess we should just hope that they keep growing and push through until the month comes along to sprout fruit.
Today, another good friend, Danielle, came to camp. We are hoping she will be able to help lead backpacking camps for Lakeshore in the future, so she came to learn the ropes of the backpacking summer camp. We spent time going over equipment, tent set up, and even procedure for answering the call of nature in the woods. We spent a good bit of time getting to know the trails of the state park and navigating using the often confusing trail maps the park provides. We walked several miles. Along the way we discoverd an eagle’s nest with two eagles in it. We were both so fascinated with it. I think if we hadn’t had so much ground to cover, we could have easily just stayed there the rest of the day looking at the eagles.
But, eventually, you take a step onto something else. You can’t just stay in one place forever, even if you want to. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t go back. It doesn’t mean you won’t return to that place that holds so many things for you.