Tonight, Lewis was not ready to sleep at bedtime. So I strapped him onto my front and headed out to "walk the floor" of Beaver Camp at dusk.
This is the last week of residence camp for the summer, and the last week for several of our summer staff members. It is surprisingly close to the end of this season of my life on year-round staff. So it's a nostalgic time. This morning, when I met with Rash, she commented that she's trying to soak in as many images of Camp's beauty as she can burn into her memory, because it's likely to be a long, long time before she'll see this wonderful place again. I find myself doing the same thing because, though I'll be back here before Rash, I don't know when I'll be here next with campers, surrounded by the music of a summer camp preparing for nighttime.
My walk around camp took me out to the end of the dock. The evening is so serene, and the water reflects perfect images; the only ripples were sent out by my footsteps down the dock. In each direction I saw, I listened to, many different scenes of quintessential Camp.
At Fireside, behind the Pavilion, I heard the conviction of Jay Trainor's voice proclaiming the gospel for 13 year olds: "And they both heard the voice of God on the same subject--but Ananias heard that message out of a spirit of fear...Saul had to have a dramatic conversion, because..." And then later I heard those 51 kids respond as one with their desire to take the message of Jesus to their peers.
In Balsam, Ris and Libby's girls chatted and giggled as they dressed for tonight's game of Persecution. Ris told me last Friday that when she was 14, she was my camper in Balsam for 13-14 week, and it was one of her favorite weeks of camp ever. And now, during (likely) her last summer ever at Beaver Camp, she gets to counsel 13 and 14 year old girls...in Balsam. She is so thrilled! And my spirit rejoices and is thankful.
Across the lake, a pontoon boat motors into port, it's buzz growing quieter as it moves further down the lake. It reminds me that Beaver Lake is much larger than it appears from the shore of Camp. That boat's home is marked by a small light shining brightly across the water.
Somewhere out in the middle, two loons tremolo and wail to each other. It is such haunting, beautiful music! To be woken by loons on the lake at night is to experience quiet wonder, to smile in your half-sleep.
Right next to me, the masts and moorings of our small fleet of boats squeaked and bobbed against their dock anchors and cleats. That is a gentle murmuring, a comforting sound.
On Chicken Coop Island, the jubilant shouts and laughter of 10 year old boys rose and fell and then turned into...wolf howls. They are camping out tonight, and their fire and flashlights were barely visible through the trees at the middle of their little kingdom.
This place has a large part of my heart, and I am so thankful for the ways that God has woven Beaver Camp into my own story. I am so thankful for a son who wasn't ready to fall asleep, sending me out across Camp to discover the magic of this night.