Thursday, May 29, 2008

Bits and Pieces

I know that I have not been as faithful about creating new posts on this blog as I had originally intended. And so much time has elapsed now that it is virtually impossible to go back and bring you up-to-date, but here are a few things that have been happening since my last post.

First and foremost, Holden Village has been an incredibly busy place for the month of May. Each of the weekends thus far has seen an influx of young people from various Lutheran churches in the Washington, Idaho, Oregon area. The weekends are called Holden Youth Weekends and varying numbers of young people arrive, generally over 100 to our largest group this past weekend of 240. And on the same day that 240 arrived, 119 sixth graders arrived from the Chelan School District for a week of environmental studies. They leave on Friday and on Monday another 100 or so elementary school kids arrive from Manson, Washington for a 4-day visit. I actually don't have much to do until the day of departure for these students and it is then that the laundry piles get as high as the ceiling...I am not exaggerating here...and I have as my goal the task of getting all the sheets and all the towels ready before the next group comes in. It is a challenge.

Meantime, the Holden never-a-dull-moment agenda keeps cranking out things to do. Up on the agenda for this weekend is the high school Prom (I use the word with some trepidation). the theme for this year's gala is "Escapees from the Circus at a Rave". I am not sure that I really know what that means, but I do know that everyone in the village will be costume... for a fine time. I have not been to Holden's famous "costume shop" so I do not know yet which form of escapee I will be. I have some mental pictures and titles, but none of them appropriate for the occasion.

And yes, I have seen my first bear of the season. I was out on a hike yesterday afternoon and there was a small bear...from the size I would judge that it was born last to the side of the trail seeking what it might devour. It was not particularly interested in human flesh. I think it was a vegetarian bear.

Virtually all of our snow has melted and spring is popping up everywhere. There are many unusual varieties of daffodils and they are nearing the end of their blooming season and will soon be replaced by the iris which are already about 6 inches above ground. The days have been beautiful of late and temperatures during the day are warm and pleasant. The nights are chilly and require sleeping under blankets...with the windows open a bit for the fresh air and the night time sounds. Very nice.

I am very excited that Ben and Kim, Andrew and Rosa will be here next week. They are flying from Hawaii on a military space available flight and are a bit anxious that they will make the flight within a reasonable period of days. Air fares have doubled since they flew from Seattle to Hawaii and with 4 of them making the trip, flying on a commercial flight makes for a very expensive trip.

And for those of you who know Ione Erickson, she arrives for a 3-week volunteer stint on June 7. Her cancer seems to be in traces of it can be found and she has been going to physical therapy and rehab to get strong enough to make the trip from Willmar, MN. She is going to work half-time in the laundry. The entire village is looking forward to her return.

The new area head for the laundry arrived a few days ago so I have been busy training her...with all the laundry we have had, training has been no problem...and she gives no indication of packing up and leaving because the job is beyond her expectations. This means that I will go into the post office on Monday and begin my own training there. The current "postei" leaves on June 22 and I am hoping that will be enough time to learn the ropes.

We learned last night at a staff meeting that the lead guitarist for Jimmy Buffet will be here as the village musician for 2 weeks. I believe he arrives in mid-June. Now that will be interesting!
Never called such, Holden Villagers may actually be the prototype for the now-famous "Parrot Heads"! So this guitarist may find himself in good company.

Time is getting away from me and I had planned to finish up the afternoon by riding my bicycle for a bit. It is a great day for it.

I hope that all is well with all of you. Stay tuned. I think I am about settled in and will try to do a better job of keeping you informed.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Tender Mercies

We are having our first warm days here at Holden. For the past two days, temperatures have risen into the high 80's and the change from the chilly temperatures of recent days has been sudden. Railroad Creek, which runs through the village, is absolutely rushing by and the water level is very high. There are avalanche warnings out with expectations of large numbers of avalanches and they are expected to be massive ones. Let me reassure you that there are no threats of avalanches here within the village, but hikers are warned daily to be wary.

With the increasingly high temperatures and the ability now to run all the dryers, the air temperatures in the laundry have risen as well. Those of us working there one morning this past week were feeling the accumulated morning heat but nevertheless prepared to take the morning coffee break at 10:30.

We went down the hill to the dining hall and instead of coffee, we found freshly made (and made out of of fresh fruit) mango-blueberry milkshakes. Such a treat.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Early Robins and Rhubarb

Red breast
Bumped against
Red breast
And claws curled,
The robins rise
From the earth
To meet for a mid-air conference.

Then just as suddenly,
And in tandem,
They flit away.
Return alone
To hop
Across the bank
Of heaped-up snow.

To assist
In our anticipation
Of coffeecakes,
And pies,
The gardener has cleared the snow
From the rhubarb beds.

In response to that uncovering,
Ruby red and
Rusty purple
Of a mysterious living entity,
Not yet plant-like, really,
Has begun to manifest itself.

Insistent on seeking the sun,
The whole mass
Pushes relentlessly up
Through the black dirt.
Once free,
These primitive forms
Will straighten into stalks.
Each stalk
Will crown itself with a leaf.

And all the while
The stalks will fill themselves
With a wild juice
So tangy and so tart
That only sugar
Or a marriage
With a sweeter fruit
Can tame it.

Alongside the rhubarb beds,
The robins
Hop about
On the left-over snow.
They are oblivious
To the miracles
Of rhubarb growth and renewal.

They have their own spring chores to attend to.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mother's Day at Holden Village

Some of the daffodils have bloomed.

They are busy this morning collecting snowflakes in their yellow cups.