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Harmony in Nature

September 12, 2010

By Callie Stevens, Staff Writer

As the first section of DISCOVERY semester for outdoor education students at Young Harris College draws to a close, we find ourselves connected not only to each other but also to nature. The last few weeks, we have bonded as friends working on group development, which has involved everything from walking blindfolded to canoeing in local waterways.

One of the most popular activities we did was trying to accomplish different tasks blindfolded and led by another OE DISCOVERY student. These activities allowed us to work on having trust between all members of the group.  It was difficult to walk around blindfolded and having to just trust my partner with every move. The scariest activity we had to do was be led around by a partner who could not talk to you. At one point on the walk, we had to jump off a porch which is about three feet off the ground. After figuring out that my partner wanted me to sit down on the edge of the porch, I had to put my hands on her shoulders and just trust her when she pulled me off the ledge. I landed quickly and easily, but without seeing where I was jumping it was very scary.

Another activity we did to help form group bonding was a canoeing day trip. The class went paddling on the lake. We paddled the canoes in pairs, with the front person being the engine which means they paddled with the aim for speed, the second person sat in the back of the canoe and paddled with the focus on direction and controlling where the canoe went.

We switched partners throughout the trip so we could work with different people. On the way back I was partnered with Zach Thompson, a fellow DISCOVERY student from Cartersville. We had paddled with each other before so it was easy for us to get comfortable with each other because we knew that I worked best as the engine and he as the director.

After a few minutes of paddling I realized how peaceful the moment was. The water looked like glass the way it was so still and reflected the cloudless sky. I was getting tired by this point but knew that Zach didn’t care if I took a break from paddling every now and then. So I raised my paddle out of the water and set it on my knees and just gaze out on the water and the mountains. It struck me how the peaceful dark blue water looked as if it ran straight into the bottom of the mountains that jutted out of the ground into the sky. The irony hit me of how the mighty Rocky Mountains were so close to the smooth gentle lake. It made me think of how true harmony only exists in nature.

I have come to realize how being a human means that we are a balance of all three characteristics: strong, gentle, and trusting. As students we often have no clue about what the future holds for us. I think to be the best person we can we simply have to trust the people that are guiding us that they know what is ahead and know that when we jump they will be there to catch us. We also have to have an equal balance of being strong and sturdy as well as being gentle and peaceful. If one is stronger than the other, harmony is not possible. Orlando Bloom once said, “If life isn’t about human beings and living in harmony, then I don’t know what it’s about.”

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