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Camp Chapel

Spent all day last Sunday at Blue Lake Arts camp located on the southern edge of the Manistee national forest about an hour from home. The Manistee forest is a million acres of forest in the Lower Peninsula set aside for preservation and recreation.  I was at the camp for parent orientation for the Z-girl's summer tour of Europe with the international ballet ensemble.  Zoe was spending the day rehearsing.  The orientation consisted of a lot of pamphlets being handed out and one on one questions and answers with the tour facilitators.  I ended up with a lot of time to kill so I took a long hike around the property.  The camp is huge with a lot of well groomed trails going in all directions through the woods.  It was a beautiful fall day.
It was great wandering around and checking things out at my leisure.  I spent a lot of time at the camp's chapel because I love the building and the light was tremendous. The humble structure reminds me of that scene in one of the Indiana Jones movies where they are trying to pick out the Holy Grail from amongst a shelf full of chalices. Jesus' Cup ends up being this nondescript but graceful chalice made of clay.  This chapel, although made simply and crudely, holds a spiritual power that I felt more closely than most any other grand church or cathedral I've been in. Or it might have just been the tremendous light that day.
After communing with the chapel I walked over to the camp's beach and then up a small trail through a jack pine forest.  I love jack pines. I took a wrong turn and wound up wandering around in the woods for about a half hour before coming out onto an access road I recognized from the last time I'd been up.  I came out right across the road from the local public radio station.  I listen to a show coming from the station every Friday night and sometimes on Saturdays -  "Jazz from Blue Lake with Lazaro Vega". I realized I've been listening to this show off and on for over twenty years.  Its the only jazz show this station has; the rest of its programming is classical music, opera and various NPR news programs. And Prairie Home Companion...which I loathe. I think its fitting that a classical and jazz public radio station should be tucked away on a logging road 10 miles within a million acre national forest. Lazaro Vega's winter commute to the station must be a bitch.

I wandered back to the camp's dining hall where all the other parents had gathered to wait for their kids to get done with the day's rehearsal.  No internet access so I spent the long afternoon writing two columns for the paper, 4 menus for work, fiddled with a few movie reviews and started a Christmas themed short story about a tree salesman who gets robbed. The sun was going down by the time I was to go pick up Zoe from her rehearsal.  She was bruised, battered and exhausted from rehearsing two modern dance pieces that required a lot of rolling around, jumping and falling.  Over and over all day.  She discovered the practical meaning of having a love hate relationship with something.


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Nov. 16th, 2011 12:01 pm (UTC)
The shape of those windows is cathedral-like.

Everybody I know hates Prairie Home Companion 'cepting moi. I guess I'm sentimental.
Nov. 16th, 2011 01:26 pm (UTC)
Its not the schmaltzy-ness of the show that gets me - its that Garrison Keiller insists on singing with every guest (shape-note, ugh) and some of the routines/stories are old hat. I've heard all I want to hear about Lake Wobegon and Garrison's reminiscence's.
Well since Keillor is set to retire and the sound effects guy passed away, I think the show will get re-vitalized for me. That's okay for you though - everyone has their soft, gushy center. After all, I shouldn't talk, I'm a Real Housewives of Beverly Hills fan. I rationalize and call it research.
I love that little chapel. My kind of church. I told Z she should get married there. Another eye roll moment.
Nov. 16th, 2011 02:06 pm (UTC)
I loves me some Housewives too! Although my favorite flavor is New York City.

The Lake Wobegon monologues actually make me cry, which is how schmaltzy I am. I was thinking the other day that part of it has to do with being here and feeling so very unconnected: NPR provides a thread of continuity 'cause I've listened to these shows through so many life stages. I am Ira Glass's secret war bride!!!!
Nov. 16th, 2011 01:46 pm (UTC)
What a wonderful building.

And as for PHC ... I'm with you. That show jumped the shark years ago.
Nov. 16th, 2011 03:05 pm (UTC)
I like me some Ira Glass also - and I'm hooked on the Moth Radio Hour.

Yah - that chapel looks like it jumped out of an old John Ford western. Its just about as old, evidently.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )