Holden Village Staff Experience August, 2003

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Uplake to Holden Village, August 5

A new day dawned; last March I knew it would come.  I started this trip with only one thing in mind: To place myself on the ferry to Holden on the morning of August 5.  What came after that was unknown to all but God.  I spent a lot of time simply breathing, trying not to anticipate the future.


Breakfast (and coffee) were congeniel and delicious, with Phyllis and Jackie, the gracious hostesses of Holden Bed & Breakfast.  I chatted with Mary Beth, and with Emily, Holden's new pastor, and her husband Brian, who would be Holden's high school teacher that year.  Several others were also gathered around the two tables, but it was all over too soon and we were off to Fields Point Landing, where we would catch the ferry.
Mary Beth and I got our stuff into my car and drove the 3 miles to the lakeside.  At the ferry landing (owned by the Forest Service, and operated by Holden staff), we took it to the pier, handed it over to the folks who would load the boat, and bought tickets.  The early ferry was already there, loading passengers bound for Stehekin, a tourist attraction, and the woman who sold the tickets was shouting out names, frantically trying to locate everyone who was going.  Some folks came slowly down the stairs, senior citizens who needed a bit more time, and the woman got exasperated, and gave me one of those looks.
I said, "Hey, that could be me in a few years."
She replied, "No way; you aren't even as old as I am."
"How old are you?" I asked.
"I'm 39."
"And how old do you think I am?" with a twinkle in my eye, knowing what was coming.
"You can't be older than 35."
I gave her a big grin.  "What is your name?  You are my newest best friend!"
Her name was Lynn, and she couldn't believe my age!  When she asked how I did it, I replied with a quote from (yes, I admit to having read this) The Harrad Experiment:  "The secret of eternal surprise -- Curiosity, wonder.  Maintaining a child's mind in an adult world...and being just yourself."
(So, James, the race is on, and I'm ahead...in relative terms, which are the only ones that matter...)
Onward - Time to park the car for 3 weeks.  Then run into the office to tell them my space number.  The man was so nice and chatty, but my ferry was loading the final passengers, and I had to run, literally. 
"Go in peace.  Serve the Lord!" he called.
"Thanks be to God!" I shot over my shoulder, and boarded the boat.

We pulled away from Fields Point Landing and headed up lake.  Consistently ranked as one of the most pristine waters in the United States (you could see 'way down!), Lake Chelan is 55 miles long, and 1,486 feet deep, making it the third deepest lake in the nation, extending nearly 400 feet below sea level in places.  There is a dam, but only to raise the water level; it's really a natural lake, filled by snow and glacier runoff. 
But that's not what impressed me.  I was busy coming to grips with the fact that my trip had ended and my journey begun.  It was time to get quiet, time to accept the things placed before me, time to let the journey and the place have its way with me.


There's nothing like a two hour boat ride to the middle of nowhere to let you know you're passing from one world into another.  And there's something about locking up your car, knowing you won't see it for three weeks, that lets you know you're leaving more than just the car behind.  Those of you who know how much I love to drive can imagine how hard that was for me!


Back in May I downloaded a version of the picture (above) of the lake and mountains (taken by the Chelan Chamber of Commerce), and stuck it on my PC as wallpaper.  I've been staring at it every day for three months or so, and now I'm looking right at it!  An eerie feeling, though I knew the moment would come.  (Yeah, yeah, I know it's tilted, hey, I was on a BOAT, you know!)
I catch myself musing about the people I've met.
Phyllis, a retired guidance counselor who, with her husband, sold their house, and has spent the last year running the Holden Bed & Breakfast and Fields Point Landing where you get the ferry.  She describes herself as "homeless".
Brian (married to Emily), who is also "homeless", heading up to Holden Village for a year to teach 7th through 12th grades, for the children whose families are living in the village for a year or more.  Emily (married to Brian), headed up to be the pastor for a year, having gone through a call process the year before.  And of course, Mary Beth, student of "Healing Through the Expressive Arts", the major she constructed for herself.
How very different these people are from those I was musing about on my trip up!  They meet life with open minds, hearts and arms, and it is a joy to be in their presence.


After the narrows of the previous picture, the lake opens up, and if you know where you are (I didn't), you would know that we would dock just around the trees on the left bank.  We're about 20 minutes away from Lucerne, where we'll get off the ferry and head up to Holden Village.


We have arrived at Lucerne, and the Holden bus is waiting!  You can rely on that.  You say you're showing up on a given date, and they are there to meet you.
You can see the back of Mary Beth, and Brian's head in this picture.
The Holden Mavericks (the strong volunteers) will load the luggage on the truck, and the folks will load themselves onto the bus.  Others who have come down to the lake to swim will join us, and the bus will be one huge conversation going up the 10.5 miles along the mining road to the village.
Ed, the driver, tells us we will go up a total of 2100 feet, the first 1100 in the first two miles.  He also assures us the ride is safe, because, "while you're watching the scenery, I'm watching the road.  Here we go!"


Have we climbed 1000 feet yet?  I don't know, but we are already up pretty high above the lake.  Ed slows so we can snap a picture.  The ferry is already out of sight.


Ten and a half miles along this road.  Ed says to holler if we see wildlife, and sure enough, a black bear bounds into the road and stares at us, then decides to depart at the sight of such a big yellow thing coming at him.  We also see two glorious bucks in the woods.  (Since I'm in the bus, I'm not scared of the bear, but I make a mental note not to hike along this road...)

OK, Diane, we're goin' in...Bring Tony...!


What will I find?  Will it be all I hoped it would be?
The sign above the windshield on the bus says
"The ride up is free
  The trip down is costly."

Entering Holden Village...
In this moment
Draw me to Yourself,
And make me aware
     Not so much of what I've given,
     As of all I have received
     And so have yet to share.
Send me forth
     In power and gladness
     And with great courage
     To live out in the world
     What I pray and profess,
That in sharing
     I may do justice,
     Make peace,
     Grow in love,
     Enjoy myself,
     Other people,
And your world now, and you forever.
   (Prayer from Holden B&B book)