This week was one of the more pedestrian of the entire year. As I’ve tried to lay out what I would write about this week, there are no big events that stand out, no moments that I go back to that seem to define the feel of the week. The weather is changing. We are seeing a little less rain, a little more sunshine. At work, I’m working to prepare the camp for the summer. I’m working to prepare myself for fatherhood. I’m taking some much needed time off in a few weeks. I’m prepping so I can enjoy that time fully. And so, this week likely like many to come was crammed full of tasks to accomplish.
I am recognizing in myself a greater need to look at busy days through a different lens than I have been. It is difficult not to feel like there is more on the line than there actually may be when many tasks are in front of you at once. This feeling can drain you, make it difficult to enjoy the moments when you go outside at the end of the day, when you relax at home, when you spend time with loved ones. It makes you feel like enjoying life is a luxury that cannot be indulged until every task is complete. Of course, this makes those tasks even more difficult.
At camp our phone system is incredibly old. The phones themselves are probably from the 1990s. They are, one by one dying, and my office phone is the most recent to go. As it turns out, pricing a phone system on the Oregon Coast is more complicated than you might think, so I’ve been without a phone in my office for several weeks. One of the pleasant byproducts of this pain in the ass is that I’m forced to use my cell phone, which doesn’t get a good signal in the office, meaning I need to go outside to take calls.
This week there has been enough sunshine between rainy stretches that I haven’t had to huddle inside my rain jacket while fielding a call. In fact, I’ve gone out on the secret dock at camp or the wetlands trail bridge for these conversations. I’m calling these areas my “satellite office,” and it is a very nice office to have. The talks I’ve had have been fairly long, and it makes a good excuse to pace along the dock on Smith Lake with the mountains behind, clouds drifting in front of the sun, then moseying past. Every now and then, I’d watch our pair of bald eagles cross over the lake. This time spent out on the lake will shape the impression of this place in my long-term memory. This is what I love about camp work–a large portion of the work can be done while bearing witness to the beauty in the outdoors. That does something to a person, that shapes a person.
This week, something positive has begun floating through the air, and it is catching hold at camp. I’ve heard several staff members sharing positive experiences they’ve had recently. I’ve heard more than one person talking about the good vibes they are feeling. I’ve been longing to have that sea change where something takes hold and builds on itself. I hope that this will continue to grow and bring more joy to our work. It makes that change in perspective much easier when more people around you are enjoying life moment by moment too.
On Friday, Hope and I departed for Suttle Lake to help lead a summer leader training for three of our camps. The trip to Suttle Lake from Camp Magruder takes you through part of the Coastal Range, through the Willamette Valley to Salem, then through the Santiam Pass of the Cascades. It is a trek through some beautiful parts of Oregon, where you squeeze through some of it’s rugged bigness. This was Hope’s first time in this part of Oregon, and it was a pleasure to get to play tour guide.
About an hour from Suttle Lake, I pulled the camp Jimmy over at a look-out spot near the Detroit Dam. I needed to stretch my back and wanted to take in some scenery in the process. It was drizzly, so rain clouds made visibility pretty low. Still, you found yourself dwarfed by everything around you: the mountains, the reservoir of water below by the massive dam. The big trees. The clouds that were made to look larger by the mountains they were passing over.
I have been here for over two years now, and even now I feel as if I’m on the doorstep of something. There is something great on the other side, and I do not yet know it well. I have the sense something wonderful is awaiting. But, there is more to be worked out before all of that can be revealed. In the meantime, when I will let myself enjoy it, there is more beauty than I know what to do with. A beauty I want to get to know better. I am longing to regain that ability to enjoy it as it comes, to take it moment by moment. There is much here that deserves that kind of attention. It is a season where I will be rewarded if I pull over more to stretch.