We’re into our first week of earlier sunrises and sunsets at the camp. It’s that time when you get out of work, and it’s already dark. You have these evenings where you feel like you’ve accomplished so much, because you went home immediately. There’s not quite as much to do outside when you can’t see. And so, we go home, we eat our supper, clean the dishes, and expect it to be bed time, only to find it’s 7:00pm. These types of days keep you honest, I guess. They encourage you to get up earlier and go to sleep when the chores are done. It’s just light bulbs and late-night tv that foil a perfect plan.
Our adult backpacking retreat finished up this Sunday. They dealt, from what I hear, pretty graciously with nightly temperatures in the 20s. The camp dogs decided to follow the group into the wilderness, including 9 year old Miles. It sounds like he slept the soundest out of the group. It’s interesting all the things we get ourselves into without realizing. I’m sure Miles was under the impression that this would be much like Gary and Vickie’s 45 minute afternoon walks. Then a few miles along with a 600 foot elevation change later, you’re sleeping out in the middle of the woods. The exercise was probably good for him.
The coots have returned to the little bay in front of Lakeshore’s waterfront. These are ducks that aren’t really the most prized by hunters and aren’t really very much to look at, but they come in hoards every year to visit. They could be with us as long as 3-4 months before they move on. They are dark colored ducks with almost white bills. They gather together in 100s, and if you watch closely, you’ll see them diving under water and popping back up. On a quiet day, sitting by the waterfront, you hear them cooing and quacking, splashing around in the water. The sound travels and echoes. It’s very peaceful. Then when a large group gets spooked, they take off flying, and the noise sounds like an avalanche of marbles. When you’re near them, you sense a great energy.
Yes, you can feel this with many of the animals that are active at the shore. The squirrels are moving with more energy. You’ll hear them barking and squawking at each other more regularly. The giant group of cow birds that have been here for several weeks moves as one thing from groups of trees, back and forth. I was out walking the other day in the woods and came upon them. As I got too close, they took out, and it was like a wind whipping through the trees. They are busy gathering, eating, probably mating too. They can feel the change that is coming. If we pay attention, we can see it plainly too. The days are getting shorter. The leaves that are left are mostly brown–even the oaks have lost most of their green. We’ve had a taste of the cold, but more is coming.
I have seen excitement this week over the coming change. In the quiet that comes with these shorter days, when we aren’t running lawnmowers to keep the grass at bay, you can hear the other parts of the world getting ready for something. Sure, there are signs of things coming when you walk into Wal-Mart too (it has been since early October. What’s up with that?). But, this excitement feels much more genuine. That feeling from within that change is coming. A feeling that stirs you to action. A feeling that you may not understand, but that you can not ignore. Yes, something’s coming. We may not know exactly what it is, but, like the squirrels and birds, there is something inside calling us to move.
This weekend we welcome the Shanklins, Murray 1st UMC Youth, Savannah 1st UMC Youth, and the United Methodist Women’s Fall Fling. Keep them in your prayers.