This week Summer showed up on our doorstep with his head hung and a bouquet of flowers, ready to apologize to us for how terrible he has been. This week, summer tired to win our love back with cool breezes and partly cloudy afternoons. These mornings are the mornings that make you want to take a walk and just forget about going to work. The lake looks so pretty these days. I have a theory that the flooding earlier this year caused the lake to be a much deeper blue this year, and when you couple that with the breezes we’ve had this week, it looks like something completely new.
TVA has already begun to lower the water level, and the Maintenance Staff is rushing to get all the boats out of the water. The image of a boat sitting on muddy ground is the type of stuff that keeps you up at night if you’re the one who has to get it out. So, as much as I would have loved to keep the sailboat at the dock into the fall, when we might get some nice cool breezes, reality is that TVA doesn’t drop the water level based on my needs. We had a former staffer visiting who wanted a voyage on the Persimmon (the name of the sailboat), so I thought it would be a great opportunity to sail down to Eva Beach and take the boat out of the water. As luck would have it, this was the only day of the week we did not have a good breeze. We set out anyway, though, and made it just about to the secondary channel before the wind completely died. Luckily, we also had a pontoon boat to take out still, and it pulled us the rest of the way. There were times on that trip, though, if you just turned your eyes the right way and forgot about the pontoon engine noise, it felt like you had picked up a good gust of wind, and you would sail miles down river before the old girl rested.
A year ago we were overrun for a few months with tiny bugs that are either chiggers or very small ticks. Regardless of how you’d classify them scientifically, they are miserable to deal with. You are sitting down somewhere at sometime in a day and look down to notice very tiny dots all over one of your legs. You brush them off thinking it is dust, and you realize they are attached to your skin. The only way to get them off is to scratch with your nails. And this can happen (and often does) just from any walk in the woods. They have returned, and if things are like last year, they will be here for another month to month and a half. And even as much as I love being out in the woods, these critters make it very discouraging to go out there. The scratching on the sock lines, the constant paranoia every time there’s an itch, and the infiltration of places that we’ll leave unmentioned. I hope these past two years are not an indication of something around to stay. But, if it is, I will likely still, against my better judgement, venture out into the woods, because I can’t resist.
This weekend we have the Scrapbook retreat, one that has become very popular for us. If you aren’t acquainted with it, you will likely be shocked by how much equipment a materials are available to make scrapbooks. There are machines made to cut decorative designs that look like computer printers, that are filing cabinet sized storage containers on rollers holding all the different types of paper and tools used to turn a photo album and pictures into something much more artistic. Some of our guests show up at 8:00am on Friday to begin doing this. We have dollies to bring in all the equipment. I am like a bell hop at a fancy hotel when they arrive. We walk out to greet them, then offer to take their bags (only we’re referring to the scrapbook equipment, not the essentials bags). Everyone has something they get slightly crazy about, I guess.
One of us wants to be outside so bad he’ll endure being chewed by hundreds of tiny bugs, and another will carry trunks of paper, machines, and pictures to make their album just the way they want it to be. We do crazy things for the stuff we believe in. A few of our summer staff members who just left us will go off to new churches and cities and even countries, chasing after any type of great service to God they can grab. We are proud to see them go out and do these things. We are happy to see them get this kind of crazy.
After we pulled the sailboat out of the water we found something very strange to us on the side of the boat. It was very slimy looking in a blob shape. We were little boys again, daring each other to touch it, then talking about how both gross and cool it was at the same time. When you pressed on it, it was stiff to the touch, but left a slimy film on your hand. It had attached itself to the boat while that part of the boat was underwater. I still have no idea if it was an animal of some kind or just a big blob of stiff algae. As we brought down the mast, tied everything off, and put attached all the covers, I couldn’t help but go back and touch this thing, hoping, I guess that I’d receive some new insight this time, but it never really came. That didn’t make it any less cool, though.
Sure there is crazy sometimes. We know it’s probably against better judgement to approach a bush that’s on fire but not being consumed–that could only lead to trouble. There’s only complication in leaving your fishing job to follow some idealistic smooth-talker around trying to help people. Why on earth would you go out in the woods if that’s going to happen to your ankles? Scrapbooking? Mission work? Touching a slimy blob? Why on earth. I don’t know. But, something deep inside is telling me it might be worth it. There’s always the chance that that urge is going to prove unwise. But, who’s to say you won’t raise the sail, the wind pick up, and your next adventure begin?