Archives for July 1991

Pole Creek Solo Area

Blue Ridge Mountains, NC

These are the mountains of North Carolina — it rains here. It rains a lot. Occasionally, there is a brief period of warning, such as the sound of distant winds carrying the rains in my direction, or the thunder that looms far way, then approaches my tarp, but most often it just rains.

The under side of a tarp has no doors, nor walls — it is merely a roof. As such, it affords one the opportunity to look out in all directions and see that there is no front, nor back to a rain storm — it is all just degrees of middle, and all of it is wet.

While the students are out on solo, I am under their group tarps. There are a few tiny spaces that are sheltered, but, the lower of the two tarps has now sunk completely to the ground and is collecting a pool of water now approaching 15 inches deep. All that is missing is the goldfish.

* * *

I’m sitting by the side of a small creek with my feet completely immersed in a hole I’ve dug. Like a child who’s shovel is his only toy, I’ve managed to cover myself in mud as I move dirt and sand from one place to another.

"Your making a mess!" I hear from the dark recesses of my mind.

"I don’t care!" is the prompt reply. I’m an adult now, and time has come to have some fun, even if I get muddy from my toes to my nose! The earth is full of dirt, and she delights in holding you deep within her arms! So go ahead — GET DIRTY!!

Copyright (C), 1998, by Ashley Guberman

South of Three Forks Junction, Georgia

Having climbed steeply up the bank of a large gorge, we finally arrived at our point of crossing. From above, the water is calm, gentle, and cool. Hovering 6 inches above the surface of the water is a deep mist that burns off as it emerges from under the canopy of leaves and enters the direct sunlight.

Soon, the calmness is broken by sharp bends, long drops, and narrow passages. The water drops maybe 50 feet in as many yards, and on its vertical decent it strikes an upturned rock dead-on, splattering out in all directions, forming a broad flower pattern as the gorge widens momentarily to the light of day.

The banks are still steep and black, worn smooth in parts with the passage of time. As the channel continues down stream, the canopy again closes in around it, hiding the gorge from all but those who venture close to its edge.

Copyright (C), 1998, by Ashley Guberman

Water Cycles

I am in constant wonder as I sit on the bank of small rivers or streams. The water flows down from above, climbing over or around the rocks and other obstacles in its path, and continues on its thoughtless journey down hill to the oceans.

The bank opposite me shows clear signs of erosion — a steep slope, bare rocks, and trees hovering well over the water, clinging desperately to the side with long, tentacled roots that bore deep into the ground.

Day and night, and throughout the seasons the water flows, always from an unknown and invisible source. Expanding my view, I look beyond the banks to see a dense and intensely green canopy of trees and vines. And further still, beyond the speckled holes in my leafy, lofty ceiling, a field of blue and purple holds on to the ever growing moisture sent up from below.

From lands far away, the sky is burdened to hold more and more water until at last she can hold no more. Having carried the clouds great distances, she becomes dark, tired, and forceful, and then returns her load to the ground from which it came.

Copyright (C), 1998, by Ashley Guberman