The Pieh dock seems to always have some sort of an invitation. It’s a place of connection, dock-talks and wandering at the sky. It’s a relief for a mind’s whirl-wind at the end of a summer day, course planning, supporting, or office detail. It’s the start and a finish line home from the traditional Personal Challenge Event, offering a plunge for freedom. It’s the long awaited harbor students paddle toward on their journey to seek excellence.
To me, it’s the quiet runway into the deep unknown journey I’m about to take with my students. I got a plan in mind, but then again, its all out the window when the boundary waters magic happens to bring people to the nit and grit and the truth of what they need. It’s the portal I seek, the stillness to be bold, and a reminder to be gentle in however I walk with my students.
Intuitively or part of a checklist, its where instructors go before course to take a breath before they hit the ground running.
I never knew Bob Pieh, but there is something to say about the man who’s building hosts a dinner table that allows everyone to come together. Having traveled to different Outward Bound Schools around the country, it seems there is not one instructor who does not have his words of wisdom in one of the first chow circles or send offs, “Be tough yet gentle, humble yet bold, swayed always by beauty and truth.”
The other day, a good old lightening storm rumbled through Birch Bay. With the sun at her tail she left a booming rainbow bathing Homeplace in color. Other instructors and I ran for the Pieh dock to seize the bold and gentle beauty bestowed on our corner of the world.
When I took in this panorama, and how so many moments in this wilderness only exist for a short window of time, I think of two pictures. The smaller one, is that an expedition isn’t all rainbows, but it takes a lot of character to stir up a storm and weather it for bold, vibrant colors to shine together in the end.
The bigger picture is that a window of time, is all we’re here for. To make a difference in others, ourselves… Students are here for only a window in their lives. For many, it will become a pivotal point in their unwritten story, a rock they can stand by to know there’s more in them then they know.
Homeplace has always sent people out into the world, with an invitation to come back to the harbor.
With that invitation, you are greeted by an extended family of sorts that you may never have met who can’t wait to hear your story over a hearty meal.
Homeplace is hard to leave because it’s hard for others to understand the kind of connections we make here. It becomes humbling to meet alumni who can share in such a transformative experience.
Being a part of Voyageur Outward Bound School we become part of a living history. I suppose that’s what makes the 50th such a great idea. To come back to each others’ story, to see how history lives on in this crazy extended family and invite people into it.
I look forward to meeting you in the harbor,