This week storms swept through to compete with what we might see in early spring. A steady drizzle settled in at the shore that lasted most of a day, bringing with it heavy winds and a very indecisive thermometer. These late fall rains are very dreary. We are already dealing with darkness from 4:30pm on, but you add in that gray texture in the sky that seems to soak into everything, and you just have melancholy waiting to happen.
Monte, one of the camp snakes, has been curling up in his water bowl frequently as of late. This is an interesting change from his typical position under the hollow, plastic rock. Snakes do not normally exert a lot of energy, but Monte surely is even lazier than your average snake. Many times, I have thought he might be dead, only to find that he is just really, really comfortable. When you feed Monte his monthly rat, he spends a great deal of time next to, just looking it over. I wonder if this type of behavior would be tolerated in the wild. Most of the time to get Monte to eat the rat, we have to make it move around a little bit. Maybe Monte just needs more excitement in his life.
About mid-week, the rain and winds settled down, and I began shooting new footage for the Counselor Training videos. I’ve used videos in Counselor Training sessions as long as I’ve been doing it, but occasionally you decide that you need a change. The current videos were a little too long and had too many editing mistakes that stuck out to me everytime the video showed. So, this week, I went out with a camera to improve on my films. These films are made with action figures and dolls by stop motion animation, mostly. This is a time-consuming form that is the same thing used in the original King-Kong all the way up to Claymation. You take something, shoot a split second worth of footage, pause, move the character just a little, then shoot again, repeating the process over and over and over. The end result (if all goes correctly) is a movie where inanimate objects look to be moving.
I shot these films all over the camp, so I can only imagine what some of the staff thought as they passed through and saw me with a set of dolls and a camera, seemingly talking to myself in different voices. One big scene what filmed on the dock down at the Waterfront. It was a sunny day with a slight breeze. Just beside me were a group of coots, enjoying the day. These are strange looking ducks that are very dark, for the most part (even their eyes are black), with white beaks. The only thing you can really make out on their bodies are the beaks. It was nice, being outside, filming action figures on the dock, and having the coots nearby to watch when the wind would get so strong it would mess up the sound recording. They swam around, cooing, diving every now and then, tucking their beaks under their wings from time to time. I’m not sure what they thought about my show, but I certainly enjoyed theirs.
After some computer frustrations the movies were finished in time for Counselor Training. It is funny the way stop motion works. You must have a vision in mind to stay with it. It certainly doesn’t look like the end product while you are filming, only making minor adjustments gradually. You can be too impatient with the process. You also can’t take too long with it either. Then you pull up your video and watch these things come to life. Motion is such an amazing thing to think about. I move to make these words appear on this screen. The wind moves and pushes the leaves off our trees, stripping them bare for the winter. We move from bed and to bed every day, and in between decide what movements are important. Even when we are still, there is still movement within us. In fact, when we are at our most still, God is often the most free to move. May we find both stillness and movement in our day.
This week, we welcome our Scrapbooking Retreat, Counselor Training, Whitehall Baptist Youth, FaithPointe Church Youth, and Boyscout Troop 75 will be with us this weekend.