A chill is in the air at Lakeshore and night comes early. Gray seems to be creeping more and more into the color pallet, though it hasn’t taken over yet. If you are out in the woods in the evening, it seems like someone has covered the world with a yellow light filter. The Beeches and Chestnut Oaks that cover our hillsides have begun to turn, and their yellows are a fantastic thing to see. You feel lucky to be alive, walking the hills around camp, taking this artwork in. You know the trees won’t hold onto this much longer, and you wonder if you might be able to save these sensations for a later time. The memory is the best you’ll be able to do until next time, though, so enjoy it while you have it. The leaves will drop in a matter of weeks, but right now, the world is gold, and your eyes own it.
Now that we have entered Standard Time, the sun has set before you can even get out of the office. It is a time of year that makes outdoor activity difficult. There are no post work hikes or canoe rides to be had unless you take a flood light. These are days that make you want to bundle up, even if it isn’t cold. At about 4:30pm, something inside of you makes you want to seek out shelter, as if you’re Primitive Man in the Wilderness looking for cave to hunker down in. I did a wikipedia search to find out why we do Daylight Savings and Standard Times. It was a very complicated explanation (which explains why I can never remember it), but I think it basically comes down to us needing to correct our lifestyle to the amount of sunlight. The Earth changes, and the sun begins to rise and sit at different times as days also lengthen or shorten. This difference in sunlight with the clock is more pronounced the closer you get to the Equator. Anyway, if we just left it the way it was, we’d have daylight at different times of the day. And, you can’t just change your work schedule in the middle of the Fall. We wouldn’t dream of starting a work day or school day earlier to take advantage of sunlight. But, if we don’t do something, we’re going to spend 2 hours of our morning in complete darkness. So, rather than change our schedule, we have to change time itself.
Ducks have returned to the little bay on our waterfront. There are many words for a group of ducks according to wikianswers: a badelynge, bunch, brace, flock, paddling, raft, dover, or team. Whatever your pleasure, this group of ducks, more specifically are Coots, which aren’t of much worth to duck hunters, but provide entertainment if you want to sit still listening and watching hundreds of birds interacting on the water. Even if you’re on top of the hill at camp, if you are quiet enough, you can hear them cooing and squawking and splashing around in the lake. They will spend a few months here on the river, and then, one day, they will pick up and move onto somewhere else.
I’m a bit jealous of these animals that make annual incredible journeys. Whether you’re talking about a whale or wildebeest or hummingbird, these trips are awesome to me. All the distance traveled. All the places seen. But, also, just knowing so many different places as home. These animals basically have vacation homes all up and down the continent. There’s your summer spot in the Arctic, your winter spot in the Tropics and a few more in between. Imagine topping the hill looking over that familiar place again that you’ve traveled thousands of miles to get to. You don’t even understand why you wanted to go there so bad–just something deep inside told you that you had to.
These are not feelings that fit into a work schedule. They are not concerned with efficiency or productivity, and that is a scary thing for us, because it is not very secure. To set out on a cross country journey is called anything from an adventure to crazy. You wonder, when these feelings take hold of you, how you would possibly manage. What would you eat? How would you make money? Where would you work on your return? How badly would you miss your friend and family? These are valid questions that need an answer. But, I’ve always admired those animals who have a longing so strong that those questions don’t have much relevancy. Maybe they do care about those things too. But, the sun is rising, so I must rise with it. The wind has picked up, and I will let it carry me. God moves in this world, I’ll let him carry me where he will.
As I sit, watching the ducks, diving into the river water, tucking their beaks under their wings, content, these thoughts come and go. I will wake up on Monday in order to make it to work on time. I will go to bed after I’ve eaten, watched a movie, read a little, and turned off my lights. But, I will look forward to a day when I take a few days to set out into the woods, more dependent on the sun for light and the birds for companionship. I will listen closer, swearing that I’m hearing the voice of God.
This weekend, we are visited by the United Methodist Women, Hopewell Baptist Women, and St. Marks Youth. Special prayers go out to the family of Teresa Depoister Baumgartel, who passed away this week. She served as First Aid Director in 1993, and we know she’ll be missed.