Reflections on a pond

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Guest column by James Jeffries

The pond at White Mills Christian Camp is remarkable. It defies the very laws of nature as it rests above the flood plain that surrounds it on three sides.

Occasionally, the Nolin River will charge out of its banks and threaten to absorb the pond. However, the pond is too lofty to attain. The river retreats slowly back to its own space as the pond calls out, “Away from me, you who are bloodthirsty!”

Only four strides are needed to reach the end of the pier which places an observer in a most favorable position. The water below is crystal clear. Schools of bluegill can be seen weaving in and out of the reeds, making their bed in the depths.

On the far left bank is a millstone that was used in 1855 to produce the White Mills brand flour. It is a reminder of the hard work of those who came here long ago. 

Just off the right bank is a fountain that runs continuously. It offsets the daily evaporation rate that otherwise quickly would disfigure in an offensive way the one acre size of the pond. The spilling sound of water is a gentle reminder of the need for constant attention for something so extraordinary.

Suddenly, an invasion occurs. Canoes launch into the pond and drown out the sound of the fountain. Bluegill dart for deeper waters as alliances are made and the splash war begins. The pier becomes a hub of activity as passengers are added, released and exchanged. The acre of splendid bliss has been transformed to a playground for children.

The event repeats itself almost daily throughout the summer adding to the collection of abandoned flip flops that settle on the far side of the shore. Finally, a voluntary retreat by the invaders allows for the return of Canada geese. The pond, once again, shines like the day.

In many ways, the pond is a reflection of White Mills Christian Camp. Consider that countless individuals have worked fearfully and wonderfully over the past 60 years to produce today’s 45-acre campus. As the millstone suggests, it behooves us to remember the efforts of those who came before us.

Also, the fountain proves that there can be no idle time while maintaining a high standard. Ten months of continuous preparation results in a remarkable camp season.

It will end just as abruptly as it starts, but fond memories go on forever.

White Mills Christian Camp saw record attendance in 2012. A total of 1,521 campers were able to experience the pond. Each of these campers took home memories that will last a lifetime. How vast is the sum of this year’s results!

However, the fountain needs to keep running. Constant attention will be needed as we look to next year.

James Jeffries, general manager of Hardin County Water District No. 2, is chairman of the White Mills Christian Camp’s board of directors. He lives in Elizabethtown.