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JAN. 31, 2013

Semester 36: Enviromental Seminar Found Poem

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The following poem was written by students of Susan’s Environmental Seminar class. Each contributed a line about their connection to nature.

Found Poem by Semester 36 Environmental Seminar Class

When I was little, I viewed the world as a place

where no bad could happen.

The outdoors and I have never really connected.

I loved playing in the woods.

Where were the trees? There were barely any trees left.

Being surrounded by green leaves and

singing birds helps easy my mind.

Because it was much easier to ignore it altogether.

I played outside a lot.

Why shed tears over something you don’t care about?

When we would go visit my grandfather, I would

always help out in the garden, planting bulbs.

It was this reason why many of my friends chose to spend the majority of their time indoors.

I learned to love trees and wildlife and not

to take them for granted.

I didn’t go outside as much as before.

Being young, the thought of the world ending or at

least slowly dying, with humans being the killers,

never occurred to me.

The better the technology, the more wasting of the


I would describe my relationship with nature as two very good friends

But they live far away from each other

And one has a very busy schedule…

Our natural world is made out to be this whole ecosystem

full of huge, numerous problems with no resolutions in the

near future.

If kids aren’t in nature a lot, they have no reason to love it.

I have known from a very early age the state of our planet

and the dangers it faces, and have felt that debilitating fear

of the continuing destruction of these last great places.

It’s more effective to teach kids to love nature

first and introduce them to the problems later.

When I think about the destruction of the environment, I

get emotional and decide that it is better not to think

about it.

I was told that it wasn’t my generations’ fault,

but it was our job to fix it.

When I’m on my phone a lot, and at school, and busy with

social life, I forget about nature.

I want to help the Earth but the way social media

tends to spin it, it is beginning to seem like a lost cause.

Maybe that’s part of why I’m at OA.

To get that connection with nature.

To really care what happens,

and not make snide comments from behind.

-Give Thanks.


JAN. 23, 2013

Semester 36 is in Full Swing

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I am sailing to Athens! Make voyages! — Attempt them! —There’s nothing else!

-Tennessee Williams, Camino Real

Orientation Week has flown by as students are settling in and getting to know the lay of the land here on our beautiful wooded campus in Pisgah Forest. We began the week with three days of backpacking in the nearby Pisgah National Forest. We were rained on for the whole time, but spirits remained high as students gained valuable backcountry skills! We’ll have more about trek on the blog soon; it was a great experience. Upon returning home, the faculty greeted students like heroes with hugs, applause and a hot pot of Tomato-Coconut Milk soup, with fresh bread and cookies thanks to Hannah.

The rest of the week was full of learning. Students learned about the systems that make campus life possible- how to prep and clean the kitchen, how to make announcements, what songs to sing, and how to use the laundry room and the office. Students learned the Good Morning and Goodnight Circle songs and are getting better and better at the lyrics everyday. They got a chance to check in with their academic faculty and sign up for arts classes. Our arts offerings here are Ironwood, (Blacksmithing/Woodworking), The Art of Place (Visual Arts) and Appalachian Sage (American Folk Music). Students talked being clean and safe in the Sun Lodge Kitchen with Ashton and then Kyle taught them how to heat their dorms with a wood-burning stove. Students learned about the “Adasahede” or leader of the day role, and have watched faculty model the leader’s responsibilities. They have been making journals with Hannah which they will use in their classes.

One of my favorite parts of Orientation Week was a group poetry activity called “exquisite corpse,” which involves a group of people writing poetry in a circle one line at a time. The kicker is that you are only able to see the line immediately preceding the one you are writing, which leads to strange narrative directions and quickly changing topics. I’ve typed up my favorite of these to share with you here:

The flowers grew from her ears, her face was a garden

That never once withered.

The garden was silent, as forever often is.

But every now and then, one lone cricket would sound,

It sounded like a choir was nearby

Holy Voices, Sacred Songs, Harmonies of Heaven- Dirges, but Divine

And it lifted me up, to place so sweet, beautiful- almost like heaven to me

And I realized there was no place I’d rather be-

At home with my wonderful family

Calm and at peace.

Students prepare to hit the trail on Orientation Trek.

Students prepare to hit the trail on Orientation Trek.

We are now in the full swing of our academic program here. Students have had a chance to attend all of their classes and are now taking on the leader of the day responsibilities. They know the systems and their way around campus now. We are so excited for this amazing group of young people and for their journey together.

Give Thanks,