The other morning while walking back up the driveway from delivering garbage and recycles to the curb, I heard a woodpecker sound off a few houses away. Homing in on the direction automatically, I laughed at the audible reminder of how accustomed I’ve been to enjoying such sounds as common during our stint at camp.
Coming in the door to find A.J. donning his coat for the walk to school, I mentioned the bird. “Was it a piliated?” was his excellent question. Probably not, but where else but at camp would he have learned to ask?
Six summers ago, Edmund Clowney was addressing the Pastors Seminar at Cedar Campus. (Now he continues to dwell with his Master, but on high. And the pastors welcome non-pastors like us.) Sunday morning he began with a sermon to the families on what “Jesus Tells Us About Praying to Our Father.” (Many others were recorded, but not that series.)
Dr. Clowney’s exposition of Jesus’ pattern in Luke 11:5-13 and story in 18:1-8 was more like them than an article which Jesus wouldn’t have written. And so the pith stuck with seven-year-old Arey clearly enough that she could recall it in her own words as she and I made canals that afternoon in the sand at the edge of Prentiss Bay past Forbrich Cabin.
All this comes to mind as I reread a poem from that week’s retreat of silence that’s ripe for a reworking. The other page in the packet records that Sunday’s hymn of profession, “Breathe on Me, Breath of God,” which with Jesus’ words served as inspiration for some not-so-free verse.
(behind Taylor Lodge; John 3:8)
What else could dance before the breeze
Quite like these bright and hardy trees?
The cedars sway, and poplars bend
Revealing paleness in the wind.
Some firs and pines stand trembling, dark –
Stout wardens of this woodland park.
Mere grasses, weeds and bushes grow
To mimic treetops from below.
The gray of stems turned into trunks
Someday will glow in embered chunks
Or grace a fence or polished chair –
Now witness serve of moving air.
It pleased the wind to blow this way:
So yield your boughs while it’s today!
Surprisingly to me, I only changed two words in the rewrite (green and leafy in line 2, FMI). As little metered and rhymed verse as I generate, I’m not sure what came over me that day.
After I shared that bit at today’s poetry read-in, someone suggested an illustrated collection of poetry inspired by Cedar Campus. I’ve passed along the idea to the appropriate coworkers – who are in the thick of preparing to welcome students yet again. It’s one of several labors of love I’d enjoy making into a hobby. Hoping not all such impulses wait until retirement – j