Monday, June 20, 2016

For the Rest of My Life I will Have to Push Through the Pain

Success is to be measured not so much by the position that one has reached in life as by the obstacles which he has overcome.

- Booker T. Washington

              Now this title may sound a bit depressing, and I guess it is, but bear with me. This past week was very quiet and I have decided to use this as an opportunity to answer my most asked question: Who writes the blogs? So I am going to be a little selfish today and tell you about myself. Yay!

               Well this is me. I was graced with the name Madison Marie Karakis on my date of birth, but I typically go by Maddie. I am Nick’s dorky, eldest daughter ( of three ), and I don’t have to ask because I already know that I am the favorite…duh. I am an animal lover, artist, singer, and writer. Because of my wonderful father I also love to hunt and fish. I am currently 19, and if you come to stay in August my birthday falls on the 8th. Oh and I really like presents (hint hint). But seriously please don’t bring me presents my dad might actually kill me haha! I am currently enrolled at The University of Findlay in Ohio for pre-vet and animal sciences, but for personal reasons I plan to transfer somewhere new and start back this spring semester. Please try to refrain from asking me what I plan to do with my life unless you want a 4 hour long conversation and a rant about the cost of school. Approach the topic at your own risk. I am in love with the color green, and can talk for hours about animals and my achievements in FFA. I am an avid republican (sorry not sorry). I have a relentless hatred for mosquitos and the color pink.
              Now you are probably wondering where the title came from. I am going to divulge in a little self pity for a moment. When you are here you may notice that on occasion I may disappear for a day, or you may see me sort of hobble around. About a year and a half ago I was diagnosed with severe Rheumatoid Arthritis. *Gasp!* Queue the comments about being too young and sorry that I have to deal with it. It has been hard yes, but it is what I like to call a silent disease. You can’t see it (usually), and you can’t tell it hurts unless the person says so. It is one of those things that is impossible to explain the impact it has on your life to someone who doesn’t have it. Now the point of this is not to make you feel sorry for me, but to tell you how Wine Lake has helped me in dealing with it these past few months.
My Home
The pain in my joints does not compare

To the view before my eyes

A sight of like I’ve never seen before

From the trees to the blue of the skies

The joyful chatter of friends and family

As they talk about their day

And the sounds of children’s footsteps

As they run around and play

The birds will chirp as the squirrels will play

The sounds of motors flow through the air

From the trees, the cabins, all around the place

They fill the camp with cheer

There is the smell of gasoline and flowers

As it comes to tickle your nose

And the smell of fires, fish, and charcoal

That clings to everyone’s clothes

Though illness tries to grab me

And pull my spirit to the ground

All I need in order to heal me

Is to take a look around

And while my joints may ache and hurt me

And my arthritis is a pain

I have this beautiful world around me

And my pain is not in vain

It is beautiful and peaceful

And you never are alone

It is for all these many reasons

That I can call Wine Lake my home

-Madison Karakis

              Now I have definitely struggled a little bit with my pain this last week, but still I would rather be here than anywhere else. The people here and the atmosphere give me a reason to keep doing what I am doing no matter the pain.

              So, since you know more about me I have a little about these past 2 weeks for you. Last week was the first week that we have had a lot of younger kids, and let me tell you some of them put the adults to shame! Man did everyone hammer fish last week.
             These are the fish entries for 2 days. There had to be at least 500 fish here. It took 2 and a half hours to get   them all on the board. It was incredible! On top of that we had lots of young ones helping to clean fish.

It was a very good week for the boys in the family to get together and bond. But hey, it is not limited to boys. When I was little I would go hunting with my dad, and we would be surrounded by dads and their sons. Guess who kicked their butts every time…me duh. So don’t be afraid to have a daddy-daughter week.

              Two weeks ago there were two 36” Lake Trout caught that I was unable to show you because I did not have the pictures yet, but they were truly huge! Take a look:

              Awesome right? It is amazing what you can find here in this lake! Although there wasn’t too much excitement this week we did have our first ever fish competition tie! There was a huge battle over the money and few made it out with their lives, it was all very emotional. Just kidding the boys were very civil about it and were able to work it out.

       There were some more exciting events such as bunnies, and egg laying. But the best part was when I challenged my dad to a game of corn hole and totally kicked his butt! Just kidding…I couldn’t even beat him in my dreams! It was still fun though! I am so lucky to have a guy like him!

              It was a very nice week; the weather was very average. We got to enjoy a little of everything. Now as for pushing through the pain: yeah sometimes I hurt, it can be hard to deal with, and sometimes it can bring me down, but it is not a stop sign. It acts as a yield. It may force me to slow down, but maybe just as a reminder to stop and smell the roses haha. If everything was the same then nothing would exist. Everything would be black, and who would enjoy that? So yeah, I have an obstacle, but this obstacle causes me to lie a little differently. To think outside the box for solutions. Most importantly it helps make me stronger every day when I feel like I can’t get out of bed and I do. When you feel like you will never be the same as anyone else remember to look for WHAT makes you different not WHY you are different.

              I will leave you with this: everyone’s life is different. There are different struggles all the time. Different challenges may take different tolls on people. Before you decided someone has it much easier, or much harder than you understand than in order to see through someone else’s eyes you must first understand what you are seeing through your own.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Round and Round We Go

“There are patterns which emerge in one's
life, circling and returning anew, an endless
variation of a theme”

Jacqueline Carey

As I have come to learn my whole world changes once a week. Well, the majority of it anyway. Every week it goes the same. Wake up. One group out. Strip beds. Make beds. Clean kitchens. Sweep Floors. Mop floors. Take out trash. Do the recycling. Clean the showers. Clean the bathrooms. New group in. Help unload. New people. New faces. New names. Go to bed. Wake up. Pump gas. Count minnows. Clean showers. Clean bathrooms. Pump gas. Go to bed. Wake up. Pump gas. Count minnows. Clean showers. Clean bathrooms. Pump gas. Go to bed. Wake up. Pump gas. Count minnows. Clean showers. Clean bathrooms. Pump gas. Go to bed. Over and over. Again and again.  It is a never ending pattern, yet every week is different. Each week brings a different atmosphere. With new people and new faces also comes new friends, new feelings, more history, more laughter, and more challenges.

              Although it is sad to see a group leave It always leads the way for a new experience. This week was an especially good week to get out and enjoy the outdoors. Our good friend Manny the Mallard has been coming around to keep us company. Every once in a while he will bring his lady friend along as well. One day this week while taking a nap on the dock, Manny allowed me to get within two feet from him, and it was amazing to see his beauty up close.

We encountered a surprise this week: turtles! And they are everywhere. I have been studying them and can officially tell them apart. They don’t have names yet, but they might in a day or so. Seeing how they climb all the way up the hill just to dig holes and lay their eggs is very inspiring. If we were to go through what the turtles do you would have to walk to the hospital while pregnant (uphill the entire way), then build your own hospital room, and then give birth by yourself. I was lucky enough to get close up to this creature as well. She let me lay next to her and watch her dig. It was a very humbling experience.

                In the month and a half I have been here in Canada, I have watched the land change tremendously. I have watched leaves and flowers appear. Everyday there is something new to discover. Here is a glimpse of the beauty captured this past week at Wine Lake Camp:

As I was able to get very close to nature this week I came upon a rare sight in the wild of WLC:

               Yes, to friends and family, you are correct. I spotted a wild Nick Karakis doing LAUNDRY! Not only was it doing its own clothes, but also mine. Even better it was using a ringer washer! Now in my 19 years of life, I have had many encounters with this creature and a great deal of time to study it extensively. It was a shock to see it exhibiting this type of behavior for it is not in its nature. I will keep an eye out for anymore strange behavior…HA!
              And as usual lots of fish were caught.

The ice cream social after the tournament held a lot of surprises this week. Last week I cranked the majority of two ice cream buckets by myself in the pouring rain. This week I didn’t even touch the crank! Everyone worked together and had a wonderful time joking while they worked.

Even better, after everyone had their fill two boys decided that they wanted to be the first ones out on the lake. They rocked it!

It turned out to be a wonderful week with a lot of family bonding, and a chance to hang out with friends. The sun we had gave everyone the perfect reason to hang out and get to know each other.

The different personalities and experiences are what keep the circle from feeling like just that: a circle. They take one big pattern, embellish it with the special things that make them different, and in that week becomes an entity. It turns the weekly circle into something bigger. The patterns still exist, but the different people give it an endless variation. Thanks to you wonderful people, every day is different, and that keeps us from becoming dizzy.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Rain, Rain Go Away...At least for Today

“The rain to the wind said,
You push and I'll pelt.'
They so smote the garden bed
That the flowers actually knelt,
And lay lodged--though not dead.
I know how the flowers felt.”
Robert Frost

           This week at Wine Lake we had no choice but to learn how the flowers felt. As a child I quite enjoyed the rain. It would flood our front yard and make it look as if we had our own lake. There are times when I remember that I was able to swim in it because the water would get so deep. Other times, my sister, my neighbors, and I would get together and play soccer; we would take advantage of the mud and rain so we could slide around easier. Unfortunately as I grew older the rain grew colder. It lost it's appeal, and became more of a burden than something that brought fun and excitement. It is only now that I permanently have a lake in my front yard that these memories come to mind. I watch the people here come down the ramp wearing rain gear from head to toe still happy to be here. They hop in their boats, then take off, and it reminds me of those times I would swim in the front yard. Just like my younger self, the rain did not stop them for they had something bigger on their mind: fishing. And let me tell you, they fished. No matter how much rain they ran into, these people endured. It paid off though. There was one group that caught close to a thousand fish last week!

        That is not an easy thing to do and takes much time and dedication. Now something I have learned while staying here at Wine Lake is that no matter the weather something interesting is always bound to happen. For instance, this year we decided to put journals in the cabins. Now I know this is something that has happened in the past, but this time we decided to give little prompt. By doing so we hoped to get all kinds of creative subjects, and to let each person express themselves in their own way. Well they have, and upon reading one I learned some tips which I would like to share with you.

Rules to Live by at WLC
By Jay Dorsey and Bill Burns
  1. Come as often as possible!
  2. Look out for low flying seagulls and over zealous loons.
  3. Over think the amount of cookies and bourbon you need to bring!
  4. Northern Pike have very sharp teeth and NO sense of humor.
  5. Rule of thumb on mosquitos: If there are 10 outside the outhouse there will be 30 inside!
  6. Don't shake hands with a guy just returning from the outhouse!
       Now I don't know about you, but I would say that is stellar advice! Now writing is not for everyone, but I appreciate the ones who participate for there is not always time to share all your stories while you are here. As I continued reading I found note about how many fish were caught, and who caught the biggest fish in the group. There were ones that made you laugh and some that just summarized how the week went, but there was a story that especially warmed my heart. There was a group this past week that comes all the way from Texas. Due to the distance they only come every other year. Among this group was the Peterson family who takes a liking to fly fishing (along with their friend Chad Lorenzen).

While reading the journal I came across a section written by Garner Peterson:

"Both of my sons ( 8 & 6 years old) love tying flies at home. I told them each to tie me a special fly to take on the trip to Wine Lake. They tied me a bunny leech and a wooly bugger. I used them at the falls and caught a smallmouth on each of them. I will frame a picture of each for the boys rooms. They will get to come to Wine Lake when they are 10."

        The way he included his boys in his trip even though they couldn't come just goes to show how Wine Lake is able to bring families together even when they are apart. Those two boys were part of their dad's adventure despite the fact they were so far away. I feel honored to experience the closeness of families that have been coming to our camp for years, so thank you.

        Now, as you can expect, the fishing was nothing to disappoint. Many Northern, Walleye, and Perch were caught along with a nice Lake Trout.

          I captured a snake, there were moose sightings ( as well as some very close encounters ), and I rescued a bird who flew into our window.

        Now although it was dreary most of the week there was a wonderful day with some sun that allowed the camp to come together and have a fire! It was the perfect opportunity to relax and share some stories!

          It was quite the busy week here at Wine Lake Camp, but our campers endured. They may have gotten wet, but it sounds to me like it was worth it! The smiles say it all.

          As the week again came to an end and everyone was packing their belongings there was peace around the camp. I was able to sit on the porch and watch the rain. To my surprise it became less of a burden. Without rain, without water, there would be no life. There would be nothing to cool you down nor something for the sun to reflect off. If there were no rain there would be no struggles, there would be no snow. Think of the songs that would not exist. Flowers would not grow. There would be no stories with a romantic kiss in the rain. Rivers and lakes would not swell and grow, and they would dry up. Fishing would no longer continue, for there would be no fish. While, now that I am older, the rain is still colder, and wet clothes are no fun, but it is no longer a burden. Rain is the very thing that brings us here and brings us together. With that I leave you with this: “Do not be angry with the rain; it simply does not know how to fall upwards.” ― Vladimir Nabokov