Outward Bound Board Meeting

It was Friday evening, up at Table Rock, just after part of the board meeting. People were gathered around, socializing, talking, enjoying each other’s company, and greeting friends they have seen — some recently, others not so recently.

After the dance, some folks gathered together on the back porch of the Kurt Hahn center. There, people were playing music and singing. The moon was nearly full in the background, and to the right stood Table Rock. A majestic presence, it stood out from its surroundings and demanded attention with its moonlit face and an empty dark sky behind it.

People, I am reminded, are what life (and OB) are all about. Though I knew only a handful of the people present, I felt a close sense of kinship and community with those around me. Even when in the larger group, I felt we were all bound together by our own individual ideals and dedication to the philosophy of Outward Bound. 

Copyright (C), 1998, by Ashley Guberman

The Mail Boxes – II

Almost a full year has passed since last I was where I now sit: resting upon the bridge just below the mailboxes. It is close to sunset as I write. The moon is waxing past 3rd quarter, and the stream still flows strong beneath the bridge.

In fact, everything is pretty much the way it is supposed to be — always moving and changing, yet remaining basically the same as all the cycles interact with each other.

Cycles. It seams I’ve just completed another one. Having returned to my home here at Green Cove, time has now come to leave yet again. Though at this point, I feel less a sense of parting than a feeling of continuity.

I know not when I will return to these trees and streams, but I do know that they will endure without me, and that I am always welcome here. As the cycles of my life continue to unfold, this humble section of forest will continue to be a touchstone throughout my travels — serving as a warm and friendly environment where I am free to learn, experiment, love, and grow.

While writing, I am passed by a woman on foot who smiles and says "I see you haven’t quite left yet." Indeed — in some ways, I never will.

Mail Boxes – I

Copyright (C), 1998, by Ashley Guberman

Porch Sitting

Green Cove, Tessentee, NC

Sitting on the porch, looking out at the various obstacles strewn about between me ant the woods, I begin to grasp how it is that so many folks in distant towns pass whole years by simply looking at the world in front of them.

Far from simply staring out into space, the activity is actually quite involving. It is a process of active observation of the grass, trees, and people; of the changing patterns of light, and of listening to the many songs of birds heard over the blowing wind and pattering of yet another rain. But even beyond the tangible items that can be observed is the knowledge that the observer, too, is but one of the many things to be taken in by those who care to watch.

Copyright (C), 1998, by Ashley Guberman

The Mail Boxes – I

Leaving Green Cove is a difficult move — though I’ve been here only a matter of months, I’ve formed a tremendous attachment to this place. The people, the walk from the mail-boxes, blackberries along the way, the icy dip hole, the porch swing,… Yes, mostly the people.

Lisa, with her long red hair and deep, beautiful accent, and her laugh and smile that are known all over the valley of Tessentee.

Skip, like a big teddy bear with the experience and wisdom of a great oak tree — having learned over time and years through many moons and stars.

Craig and Mason — the logistite twins, laughing into the night, blaring music, helping out, and always looking loving, though somewhat confused.

At present, I’m sitting on the bridge by the mail boxes. It has rained heavily for the last day or so, so the small creek is now over flowing with energy. It flows from the top of the nearby mountains that I’ve trod with my own feet, and through what has been my home at Green Cove.

I look at the rocky stream bed and know it is only appropriate that the creek be so alive now — it is carrying not just the recent rains, but also a tremendous amount of love, caring, and phenomenally powerful experiences.

The bridge serves as a gateway for me. Coming home from expeditions, and at the end of the marathon, this bridge represented the doorway to a world where I was secure, happy, and very proud.

Perhaps that is why I now find it so hard to simply drive past and leave it behind. For on the other side — the "outside" of this bridge, I have no idea where the water flows. The gravel road which I have come to know ends, and a world of emotionally void asphalt begins. The full moon was just two days past, and I know without question that this has been the moon which I had anticipated since long ago when I was a student here. We tell students "your course begins when you leave here." Indeed.

As this moon wanes and I move on, the experiences of this summer will have impacted me forever. I leave here proud of my accomplishment and scared but ready to face my unknown future. I am Outward Bound!

Mail Boxes – II

Copyright (C), 1998, by Ashley Guberman

Green Cove – My New Home

Tessentee, NC

It is now dusk on the first night at my new location at Outward Bound. Four people are playing guitar, one harmonica, one penny whistle, and a mandolin. They are playing "Blues" with OB-type lyrics, attesting to the gripes that crews of past have endured.

I was wishing I played an instrument, but alas, mine is simply a gift of another kind. Mine is the gift to move pen on paper and set thoughts free for all to see who take interest:

Much of the fervor of playing that existed earlier in the evening has faded away now. There are but a few spurious notes here and there from a mandolin, and the chatter of voices discussing various things of no great import.

The light of dusk is fading into nothingness, and peeper frogs are beginning to claim their place in the sounds of night.

Staring onto the porch, faces fade into silhouettes, and shadows lengthen from the light within the cabin. This camp is to be my residence for the next few months… Green Cove shall indeed be my home.

Copyright (C), 1998, by Ashley Guberman

Staff Training, NCOBS 91

Hawksbill Mountain, NC

There is a Whip-poor-whill off in the distance. I’ve never actually seen one, nor has its call been pointed out to me, but the song I hear is so distinct, I hardly believe it could be anything else.

As the moon is revealed and then hidden again by the clouds, I’m thinking of how this is going to be a very significant moon, with many new experiences. How many moons have passed since the first time I climbed up mount Monadonack at midnight? Quite a few.

Copyright (C), 1998, by Ashley Guberman