This week has brought us the type of weather that makes you want to quit your job and leave the civilized world behind. When you sit in a square room with fluorescent lighting and days like we’ve had are waiting just outside your window, you start to questions your life and wonder if the money or education you receive indoors is worth missing out on everything outside. You know in your mind that it will get much hotter in a few months and later much colder, but oh how great it feels today. Can we really put a price on that time we waste just being inside? With the windows open this week, we’ve had a steady breeze infused with the smells of honey suckle and fresh cut grass. As I type, there is a hint of oncoming rain growing stronger and stronger.
Vickie and Martha did a bit of Spring cleaning this week by emptying the storage room in the Administration Building. This room has a reputation for getting cluttered, because it is easy to take anything you can’t find a place for, toss it in this room, close the door, and remove it from your mind. Until this week, it was a pile of files, old phones, stationary, and supplies for events and retreats that go back over 30 years. There’s lots of history, junk, and everything in between in this room. It was at a critical point where there was only an open path leading to the spiral staircase to the basement, and even the width of the path was shrinking by the day. Something had to be done or something bad was bound to happen. There is of course the scenario where you can’t get to the laminating paper without climbing a mountain of file folders that may or may not be constructed with a design strong enough to hold your weight. Then there’s the fear that all the old telephones might come to life like some kind of Terminator scenario. There is already an army of them in the closet. They could easily take over the office in a matter of minutes if they became self aware.
There are a lot of interesting things unearthed from the office, some we had seen before, some we have not seen in a very long time, and some we wished we had not seen. There are slides from camps in the 70s and 80s in this closet. There was a display board that weighed a good 30 or so pounds with pictures from the summer of 1993. There was a very cartoonish font used for the words on this board with blobby background shapes that was probably printed with a top of the line dot matrix printer. There was a box of probably 10-15 phones from phone systems past. And there was a type-setting system to make business cards and documents look professional (if you don’t know what a type setting system is, this particular system used carbon paper to update a system pioneered by Gutenberg). Martha did not appreciate finding two sets of large gray underwear, which she thought were probably not new. She picked them up with a pencil and threw them away. Such a drama queen.
We had another first of the year at camp, but certainly not the last: our first dead armadillo of the year. We first noticed armadillos here just a few years ago. They have been expanding their range in the States, according to widipedia due to lack of natural predators. At Lakeshore, however, it seems like they have plenty of predators. Almost weekly an armadillo carcass will show up on our lawn somewhere, sometimes more than one. I looked out the window of my office this week and saw one on its back in Gary and Vickie’s yard, with its stiff legs pointed to the sky. Jim found it and threw it into the woods, so we wouldn’t soon find the smell stuck in our nose. The next day, though, another dead armadillo was in the yard. After the third one of the week, Jim theorized that Lily and Jock were finding the same dead armadillo each night and bringing it back to their yard. Evidently it belongs to one of them, and Jim had rudely gotten rid of it without asking.
Spring cleaning is happening these days. When the sun comes out longer and the temperatures warm up, you have these urges to open the doors and windows, let the fresh air in, and get all the dirt and dust out. It smells good outside, and you want to spread that everywhere. Things are fresh and new all around. Why fight the momentum of this whole hemisphere? Spring cleaning can be overwhelming, though. It’s hard to clean up a winter’s worth of dirt in one day. And, if you clean with other people, there are always things someone doesn’t want to get rid of yet. We want to be clean, but we don’t always want to do the cleaning.
Middle Tennessee Camp Bluebird came to us this Thursday. Camp Bluebird is a camp for cancer survivors and is an awesome retreat for us to host. Each year, they decorate in a theme, and this year’s is superheros. If you walk into the Sunroom right now, you’ll see a cardboard cut-out of Captain America and wall paper of a futuristic city scape. Then, there is an almost human-sized Kermit the Frog with a pink super hero costume and cape. I’ve been trying to think of other professions where you can walk into your primary meeting space, find Kermit the Frog in a pink cape, nod your head and say, “cool,” then go on with your business. Not many are coming to mind.
The deep cleaning has begun here at camp. We’re shaking the dust off from winter. The Maintenance crew is mowing and weed-eating to get the camp looking presentable for the many guests we will soon host. The rain is coming to wash off the pollen and dust that have settled thick on everything around us. It is warming up, drawing us out to move more and be seen. We are noticing those blemishes we’ve built up. Let’s go down to the water and take a dip in the cool streams. Let’s scrub away the dirt. Let the water wash over us and make us new.
This weekend we host Middle Tennessee Camp Bluebird, Rehobeth UMC Youth, and Sigma Sigma Sigma of Murray State. Keep their time with us in your prayers.