The waters of the Tennessee river are slowly retreating, and it’s leaving behind lots of driftwood, trash, gray colored grass, and an unpleasant fishy smell. The garden labyrinth is back to dry ground, and one of the soccer goals could actually be played on (though you probably want to be very accurate when you shoot). Our boat house has been placed back on the ground, and we are left wondering exactly how we are going to get everything back where it was originally when the water has completely settled. There are, though, pleasant odors to offer balance to sun-ripened dead fish. The honeysuckles are in full bloom, and anytime you pass a vine, you know it, whether you see their bright yellow and white trumpets or not. It is like passing by the perfume of the girl you had a crush on in junior high–something your nose will not forget, though you may forget why you know it.
Camp Bluebird was back for their spring visit to Lakeshore, and if you took a walk around the Conference Center, you would see it decked out in disco decoration. Camp Bluebird comes up with a different theme each time, and this time they chose to remember that era that many of us would prefer to forget. At dinner Wednesday night, everyone donned their polyester and big hair. If you remember the time, you might feel like you had stepped back into the 70s. If you didn’t remember the time, you might wonder why it looks like your parents’ attic. Regardless, it’s always a good time to stroll during a typical day of Camp Bluebird. These people really have a good time. You just never know what you will step into.
Mark Twain referred to golf as, “a good walk spoiled,” but last Thursday those spoiled walks at least benefited campers. Lakeshore held it’s second annual Golf Classic to raise money for camp scholarships, and while the returns aren’t completely in, we raised thousands of dollars. Though never playing golf before, I got to help manage the putting competition. As the Reverend David Hollis and I discussed, putting is different than what we were used to, because the green was made of real grass, and there were no dinosaurs there to try to put around. By the end of the day, many of Lakeshore’s great friends got in an afternoon of golf, and more campers will have a chance to go to camp. And probably the greatest miracle of the day–David Hollis’ team actually used one of his shots in the four man scramble.
Tiffany Dowdy has been helping out a lot at camp this spring, in preparation for her summer internship this year. Most recently, she helped me explore the territory where we will put our advanced orienteering course to be used by Treehouse Camps on their last day. The grand finale of the week will have tent groups using a map and compass to find points out in the woods. The campers will see the origins of our creek, beautiful rock formations, and one of the greatest views at camp, as they check off different points on their maps. We walked the area in mind, to make sure it was a reasonable distance to travel, so we got to gawk at all the cool things that so few people who come to Lakeshore get to see. We both reminded each other throughout the walk with awe, “this is still Lakeshore.” While on the way back to camp, we heard a noise like an avalanche of pebbles. When we realized where the sound came from, we froze and stood there not really knowing what to do. About 20 feet away sat the biggest snake either of us had ever seen in the wild–a timber rattlesnake. It was easily as big around as my calf muscle. It coiled up and shook it’s tail at us, letting us know he did not want us to approach. We honored his request by taking a very round about path around him. We tried to get a picture of him, but they all looked like a “Where’s Waldo,” for rattlesnakes because he blended in so well. Tiffany also took video of the snake, and you could hear the rattle very well. I’m sure many will think we are exaggerating the size, but my story is that he was bigger around than my calf muscle.
You just never know where you will end up when you set out for a walk. You could come across the most deadly animal in the forest or a fill-in for John Travolta. That green grass may look flat, but then you discover it has a slight slope just before the hole. You will walk through a grove and take into your nostrils a sweet familiar smell, better than any botanical soap or shampoo in the entire health and beauty aisle. You’ll feel the breeze of cool air on your face, come back just one or two more times before it’s hot for good. You hear the whippoorwill begin it’s loopy serenade when the stars come out. Take it all in and love this life that is given to you each day with a pretty bow. But, watch where you step. After all, the rattle is there to warn you.
The waters continue to fall at the waterfront, but there is more to go. We will have some serious clean up to do to be ready by summer camp. Thanks for your prayers. Keep our groups: Garland UMC Youth, Whitehouse UMC Youth, and Lakeshore’s Scrapbooking Retreat in your prayers as well. Until next week…