The warming trend on the Oregon Coast continued this week, with temperatures that occasionally climbed into the upper 80s. It has been “hot,” according to many people this week, which for me means that I’ll shed my long sleeves by 10 or 11am and not need to put them back on until close to sunset. I generally don’t want to seem arrogant to people, but it’s hard not to chuckle and feel a smidgen of superiority when people complain about heat here. I remember summer days in Tennessee when I sweated through my khaki shorts completely just doing normal “outside” things. People asked if I had jumped in the river. Nope, just sweat. I can’t imagine that happening here unless I’m trying to put out a forest fire.
It’s interesting how our perspective on what is tolerable depends so much on what we’re used to or what we’ve done recently. Our bodies can generally deal with a lot more than our minds want us to think they can. Air-conditioning makes you think you can’t handle the heat. Driving makes you think you can’t walk very far. Your body knows better.
This was probably the busiest week of my entire time here at Camp Magruder. We hosted Elementary, Middle School, and Senior High aged camps along with a huge high school cross country team and a 40 person family reunion. Not only is that a lot of groups to juggle, the variety of reasons they came for the week require switching hats pretty frequently. Some groups needed organized, regimented schedules to fit in everything that needed to happen, others needed loose, relaxing schedules that allowed for a lot of wiggle room. Scheduling has never been my favorite part of camp work, because its so difficult to get it where everyone gets exactly what they want in a way that is fair to everyone and uses the staff the right way. You feel like there is a way to make it work, and there probably is something close. But, to get there it takes long hours or work and negotiation, along with college lab level study of how each decision effects everyone else involved.
This week we had several Lakeshorians visit to help with our summer camps. It’s great to have a list that you’ve been compiling for nearly two decades of names who you trust to do camp work, who might be willing to hop on a plane and come help you when you’re short-handed. It’s also cool to share your new life with people who figured prominently in your past life. I made this move, in part, to help grow a culture of high counseling standards of a new commitment to God that isn’t pushy or judgmental, but also isn’t cheesy and shallow. I felt like on our best days at Lakeshore we found something like that. It’s awesome to have people join me who can help more show that in real life. I hope it is speeding up the process, helping us all learn faster.
The low tides this week have revealed a sand bar island each day, with a river-looking body of water that separates it from the main land. I’ve been out several days during low tide to see this. If you wade through a little water, you cross over to this temporary piece of land and feel like you’ve crossed onto something magic, something secret. This is land that only emerges twice a day for a few hours at a time. Then it sinks back below the surface like a tiny Atlantis, waiting until the next significant low tide to reveal itself again.
It’s been interesting seeing the Magruder staff and volunteers interact with these former Lakeshore/now Magruder volunteers. I’m seeing people see Magruder through a Lakeshore lens and people seeing Lakeshore through a Magruder lens. Perspectives change when we see something a new way. On both sides, I hope that each one sees that there are more possibilities than they originally envisioned. Not so much that one is completely right and one is completely wrong. I hope that what we see is a way to make everything better, some answers to our questions about how do we grow. Sometimes putting on these different lenses help us see that our bodies are capable of things our brains have told us cannot be done.
Towards the end of the week, I made the drive to Portland with Elizabeth, so she could make the trip back to Tennessee. I first spent a lot of time with Elizabeth when I led a backpacking camp where she was a camper. Elizabeth is one of the most talented, versatile people I know. Obviously, she is into backpacking and survival types of activities. She also works on car engines. She plays classical piano–she can play Debussy’s Clair de Lune, one of my favorite songs, from memory. She also scored astronomically on her college entrance exams. She’s an activist for womens’ rights and sustainable practices in food production. Hope and I talk frequently about how we think she’ll be some high ranking political leader or start some kind of grass roots social revolution someday. She just got back from a whole semester in Denmark. This past week, she came up to counsel 6 middle school girls at Camp Magruder.
We had a long conversation on that ride through the Tillamook Forest covering topics from conscientious eating to the state of the church to what types of music we’ve been into. I dropped her off in downtown Portland, my new big city, this place I’ll take so many friends to in the future. I think now to hours earlier in that day when I watched her saying goodbye to her campers and there were traces of those deep spiritual bonds I saw back in Tennessee when Elizabeth was doing the same thing. Elizabeth really likes the Northwest, she is coming back to help us with another week–an outdoor week. It is working on her likes it’s working on me. It is shaping us, we are shaping it. Learning things about ourselves we didn’t know were there.