Archive for the ‘From My Camper Window’ Category

Time Out

By Ritchie Hale 2010
from my camper window – a monthly column of Willison Crossings RV Resort Park

     Today as I have enjoyed the beauty and tranquility of the early morning sounds and images here at Williston Crossings, I once again am reminded of why I love to camp.  It is quiet, the birds are singing, the squirrels are scampering up and down the trees, and the sky is beginning to take on the wonderful changes of color as a new day approaches. I am here by choice.  “Home is where I park my camper”, and I’ve chosen to park it here.

     Sometimes I get so caught up and busy with living that I forget to truly live.  Even here at Williston Crossings, one must make choices about how to structure that living.  We often forget that we’ve come to this particular place because it offers us a variety of choices about the nature of our surroundings.

     Do you remember when you were red-faced, sweaty, and gasping for every breath, and calling,  “time out” from a game of “Tag?”  The game came to a halt until you caught your breath and called for “Time in.”  Now that we are adults we don’t have much time for a carefree game of “Tag,” but “Time out” is still vital to our survival in the more serious game of life.  The need is not a new phenomenon of the hectic twenty-first century.  In her 1860 poem, “Rock me to Sleep,” Elizabeth Allen expressed the sentiment perfectly.  “Turn backward, turn backward oh time in thy flight, make me a child again just for tonight.”

     How long since we went walking in a rainstorm? I’m talking, walking in the rain, on purpose, getting wet from head to toe, lifting our faces toward the downpour and laughing at the sky as it empties its contents upon our dry thirsty soul.

     When was the last time you discovered an anthill and took the time to observe the parade of workers as they carried food and fuel to their homes?

     When did you last go bowling (not on a league), or feed the birds (not in a bird watching club), or take a fifteen minute leisurely walk (not an aerobic workout), a walk strictly for the purpose of discovering what was in the world around you each day?

     How long since you sat in a swing and went up in the air and down? (Robert Louis Stephenson) When was your last game of hide and seek, or catching lightning bugs?  Children shouldn’t have a monopoly on living life with zest.  We are old enough to know the world holds real heartaches and that life can be difficult.  Somehow with all that maturity, knowledge, and the quest for making a living, we have almost forgotten how to make a life.  Vance Havner, an old-time preacher said, “We’ve spent a lot of time learning how to lengthen life, but not much in learning how to deepen it.”

     How about it?  Don’t you think you’re long overdue for a “time out?”  Turn the clock backward, put on your childhood investigative senses, and triumphantly exit adulthood into the wonderful world of childhood revisited–the discovery zone.  Stop and truly see the three squirrels as they play tag up and down a tree trunk.

     Notice that perfect “climber tree” at the edge of the parking lot and allow your memory to call you back to the time in your childhood when you perched high above the earth, swaying to the rhythm of the breeze.  Breathe that fresh crisp air just as tiny little raindrops begin to tap-dance on the pavement.  Your lust for life and your joy in being alive will be heightened so profoundly that the strange looks of the trapped masses all around you will go unnoticed, because for just this moment, you have called “time out.”


Ouch, that hurt!

From my Camper Window
by Ritchie Hale

     Today there are huge piles of debris and clippings all around our campground.  Paul has been at it again!  This reminded me of a time last year when I watched him work quietly and methodically topping the trees across the street.  The trees had grown tall, lush, and were gently blowing in the breeze.  I thought they were beautiful as they were; so naturally I had to go ask Paul about his work.  “Paul, will those trees grow back?”  Without missing a clip, he responded, “They always have before.  I do this every year.”  Paul has been tending these trees and the landscape here at Williston Crossings almost since they were first planted.  His hands are accustomed to knowing which to cut back and when the time is right to do so. Indeed, he is an experienced gardener.

     As I sat in church on Sunday and heard my pastor, who is also my husband, speak from the text in John 15, I was reminded of the thoughts I had entertained while watching Paul a few days earlier.  In the Bible passage, God, the chief garden keeper of His children, often pinches prunes, thins, and tops in order to grow stronger and more abundant plants.  If I was that plant, and had the capacity to understand what was happening to me, I’m sure I would resent and feel pain in the process.  However, after the process, I would be stronger and better equipped to face life’s many trials.
Life has a way of bringing to us a cycle of growth, periods of blowing gently in the breeze, and then harsh realities of serious pruning.  I’m glad to know God is a Master Gardener, and will take those painful moments I may experience, bring forth new lush growth, and in the process,  make me a stronger plant than I could ever have imagined.

Cold Waters for Thirsty Souls

Proverbs 25:25  “As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country.”

     Just the other day my husband and I sat at our campsite – quietly – meditatiing on all the sounds of the forest around us.  There were many – and yet our hearts did not hear the one sound we longed for most – laughter, and the sounds of friendly conversation.  It has been a quiet time for both of us.  We each go to our jobs where there is laughter with the children and the teachers- but the evenings are very quiet.  God heard the desires of our hearts and on Friday evening, life-long friends of my husband came to our campground for the weekend.  These friends share most of their life history with each other.  There were elementary school memories, boy scouts, youth trips at church, shared stories of favorite (and not so favorite) teachers through the years.  All the families going on camping trips together, and the antics and of their youth made for delightful conversation.  The four of us went out to eat together, visited in each others’ “home-on-wheels”, and then spent the next day walking across Paines Prairie discovering how it felt to be up close and personal with about 20 bison, an active gator, a couple of garden snakes, and a few wild prairie horses.  The laughter was contagious, abundant, and wonderful.  We capped off the evening with a cook-out and then hours of Rook ( I think the girls won) but who was really keeping score!  As the week-end drew to a conclusion, we shared a circle of prayer and all left the weekend behind with a refreshment in our hearts.  Truly, this has been like cold refreshing waters to our thirsty souls.

     As I reflect upon the simplicity of this verse, I wonder who in my circle of influence might need a drink of refreshing water.  Perhaps just a smile, a shared laugh, or an encouraging hug is what is needed.  Maybe it’s time I write a short note, send a card, or cook up a batch of cookies.  I’m sure there is someone who, like me, is thirsty for cold waters for their thristy soul.

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