Thursday, December 25, 2008

Going... Going... But not yet gone.

Wow.

I have been working steadily in the wilderness since April 2008. I have been traveling in a tight-knit community for the past 2,5 months. I have most recently arrived in Everglades City, Florida for two.five months of work with the NCOBS Sea Programs which was kicked off for me with a returning staff expedition through the saw grass swept Everglades, into the back bays of the Gulf of Mexico, I leave tomorrow for a week long Kayaking course in the Bahamas and... I am tired.

Whew.

That was a mouthful - or, rather, a keyboard full...
I am tired, but not down for the count. I am worked, but not- over worked. I am sloughing off the crisp (as opposed to shielding from the burnout; no burnout yet...). It has been forever since I have posted anything here and I deeply want to catch up with my loved ones and family and all of those whom I cherish.

Whoa.

So, my new year's resolution is to continue improving the quality of my work at NCOBS, while also improving my communication (AND face time) with my peeps, while realizing my plans to pace myself and enjoy life to its fullest.

You see, my Kayaking course falls over Nw year's, so I won't be around to share this resolution with you in person- but ahead of time, so that we'll all know where I am at with all of this stuff.
I regret not being in more touch, and this plan is going to address my lack of "hellos", etc.

To work the internet angle of things, I will also be posting photos and stories of this previous year's adventures here for all of us to see, share and understand.

Yo.

And a heads up: this Spring I have been contracted to instruct my first OLC. This means in March I will be instructing for 55 consecutive days, 60 in total after all of the planning is accounted for. This course will officially go from March 6- April 28th. I plan to rest just before and immediately after the course, so, I hope to be spending time with you folks. Let;s be in touch about shcedules and whatnot because I really want to hear from/be with/see all of you.... really.

Really.

So, it is Christmas Day, 2008, and I write to you from my little cottage on Sunset Island in Everglades City, Florida. I hope for you a day to remember, a day to celebrate, and a day to focus on your families as a prioroity. I miss you all very much and I hope you will refer to my posting about the Mountains and Valleys.

To conclude.

I have been to my first small "summit" at NCOBS-- two years of working, serving, and being in and out of contact. Before I push my "professional altitude" to new heights in April, it is my hope that I can proverbially (and who knows, maybe literally), come down to the valley and plains to use my experiences from the mountains and seas to live a richer life outside of that wilderness...
I hope we can all go to the wilderness together someday.

I miss you. I am still out there- growing and fostering growth in others, and I want you to know I care. Have a safe and merry Christmas and may this be a time to focus on our priorities...
For all who do not celebrate Christmas, I am eager to celebrate with you and learn about your traditions, I hope for you a place of focus on what matters in your lives too.

With much love,


Kev
Kshon
alias alias alias


Post Script:

Please e-mail your physical address to kevin.shon@gmail.com with the subject saying:
"address book." I want to have a log of your places to send mail - it's time to write my friends. It is my time to write. Miss you...




Saturday, October 11, 2008

OBX OBX OBX OBX OBX OBX OBX

This coming Monday, I will be traveling with a co-worker of mine, the famous Pete Hampson, from Asheville, North Carolina to the Outer Banks of the North Carolinian Atlantic shores...

I am excited to hang out with Pete, he is a great character and an incredible spirit! Go ahead, ask me why I am going to the Outer Banks...

No really, ask me - out loud. Wherever you are- that lady across from the counter at the coffee shop s not going to look at you funny or anything.....

Ok, I'll wait....... ..........

........... (just ask out loud and I'll stop waiting...) ............












Ok- I am going to help support the NCOBS Fall '08 Semester COurse going on right now. I was originally supposed to be the mountains instructor for that phase, but a hurricane came through and they started that phase early, and I was then going to be the kayak OBX phase instructor (where they are right now) - but then I injured my leg in a mtn. biking incident. So... alas, I have been invited to travel with Pete to offer wrap-up logistics support for the crew.

I will drive them from the OBX to the Charlotte airport, where I will drop them off on their way to Chile/Argentina... Bariloche I presume.

Then........... it's time for the SERVICE BUS! More on that later, thanks for playing folks,


kshon

Friday, October 10, 2008

"Slow is smooth, and smooth is fast"

Well, these past three weeks have been a huge trial in patience, captivity, and recovery. No, I haven't been abducted by people with ski masks, nor have I been sentenced to a jail term, none of that...

Four weeks ago I ruptured two muscles in my left quad.

Two weeks ago, I went to the doctor.

Yesterday, I was able to take mt first real step on flat land, with no brace on my knee.

Today? I started my first attempt at personal physical therapy...


I never really realized how active I am, until I was unable to be active in such a physical sense...
What a pleasant surprise though because my mind has been engaged in amazing ways since my injury mostly because I was cooped up, barely able to hobble up and down the hilly forest-side of Table Rock.

I have been reading some great literature: An AEE journal issue that made my head spin, NOLS Cookery- is always a great "I wish I coul dbe in the field right now" resource :), and Teaching to Transgress by bell hooks. Wow. My brain is full of new perspectives on social justice in education, there are so many new ideals in my head about educational reform that must take place, and I have been able to analyze my pedagogy and my instructing. I have gone to this philosophical place -- attempting to uncover what it truly means to "experience" something-- and how when we make sense of those experiences, this gives way to growth, knowledge acquisition, liberation, and community development.

It has been tough to "just sit around," but if my mind could measure the distance it has traveled since I've been laid out? I've been puttin' in some miles...

There are a few groups out there that operate in teams, and they know the quality of the axiom: "Slow is smooth, and smooth is fast." Well, unfortunately, this is the approach that will be most effective to heal my leg as it should be healed. I say unfortunate because I want my injury to go away "yesterday."

Being in this state though is a really safe space for me to experience different-ableness. I can't do , right now what my friends do. They try and wait for me, or walk slow to show me respect.... the go up stairs at a pace I can follow.... and I have appreciated it. I have always had full use of my body -- and right now I don't. Rather, its full use is a different "full" than it has ever been. I am looking forward to the opportunities this disability affords me. Then, slowly, I am excited to be back to my old running, jogging, hopping, climbing, skipping, anything-but-laying-in-bed self.

Slow progress=smooth progress, and smooth means faster recovery....


stay tuned, more to follow...

kshon

Sunday, October 5, 2008

A Guitar Great: Fusing Rock with Blues

This link will take you to the first part of a multi-series depicting the life of Jimi Hendrix

Jimi's History


Much peace,

KShon

Friday, October 3, 2008

A New Favorite...

Hey everybody,

So, I had this song stuck in my head today... and it was so vivid in my "ear' that I thought "Man, I would love to learn guitar, JUST to be able to play this song." This same night, at the NCOBS OLC Coffee house event, their WFR instructor KT played it on the guitar... Oh my gosh... it was... meant to be? So.... in honor of KT, my "ear", Bonnie Raitt, and John Prine, I have two links to youtube of her performing Angel from Montgomery here they are:

1)

Later version

2)
Older version

Gosh.... her voice is "scratchy velvet smooth".., Someday? I'll play it for you...


Goodnight,


Kshon

Friday, September 26, 2008

Woe is me... aka "My disability is my greatest opportunity."

Long story short? I have had one of two things happen to me (So says the doctor):

1) A ruptured Quad tendon, going from my hip to my knee.... (probability +- 5%) or...

2)A torn quad muscle.

So - I am laid up for about three weeks... say some thoughts, say some prayers.... hopefully I'll get better soon! That is all for now...


Much love,

Kev

the image below highlights the proposed muscle tear-

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Bike Repair, 101

So, my buddy Scooter just gave me a quick lesson on spoke tuning- my back wheel/tire on my mountain bike was knocked totally out of true when I wrecked my mountain bike in an adventure race this past weekend... So, he taught me how to balance my tire/wheel side to side, the wheel isn't perfect, but at least the bike is ridable until I can buy a new rear tire.

Monday, September 15, 2008

New Title, New Image, New Outlook...

So...

I have changed the title of this Blog to be more fitting. "The Adventures of Kev" was kind of cute, and yet, I realize I have grown out of the title as well.

Yes, I still have plenty of adventures... but after a climbing trip to the Tetons, I felt refreshed, renewed, and, looking back to ask the question :where am I at right now?" I think this title is more appropriate... After I have achieved a new perspective, I come to find another, and another..... and another. Maybe there are a few valleys along the way, offering a lull in perspective, a time of living in the present... but for me the summits are all about reflection- looking at where I once was. making sense of the valley of the daily task that I had just climbed out of. Does this make sense? I can go on rants that seem totally clear to me, but not so seen by others... kind of like route finding without a guidebook...

So I say to you my friends... you are missed. From the summits past and present of my crazy, work-filled, currently-nomadic, experiential/crazy life... I chose this path. Sometimes that means I am lonely on these peaks. I can always peer in to the valleys below and know that you all are there.... doing well. I may not be able to shout back to where you are? and you may not be able to see me way far above the treeline... but we're all still here... just spread out a little bit.

I close this entry with a quote from the french poet Rene Daumal:

One cannot stay on the summit forever -
One has to come down again.
So why bother in the first place? Just this.
What is above knows what is below -
But what is below does not know what is above

One climb, one sees-
One descends and sees no longer
But one has seen!

There is an art of conducting one's self in
The lower regions by the memory of
What one saw higher up.

When one can no longer see,
One does at least still know.


So there you have it, I will not always be on the summit. Someday I must come down. This journey is rich with life, and yet vacant all the same. At times I feel enriched by the solitude of adventure, and other times, I lament for the summit is a cold, lonely place.


May I always remember what I saw higher up... As we will always be beckoned to climb the summits beyond.


- Good night




image from: http://www.presscluboftibet.org/UserFiles/Mount_Everest.jpg


"One way to pick a future is to believe it's inevitable. "

It has been a long while since my last entry and I received this quote in my e-mail inbox from the "Outward Bound Daily Quote" e-mail that I receive. This quote seemed quite appropriate for me to share considering what I have been through in the past month...


I started off with a climbing trip beginning in the Grand Tetons. Alpine climbing at its finest- late August storms brought a wintery mix, including upwards of three feet of snow above 10,000 feet. So, my climbing party decided that we should head out of dodge... We then went to Devil's Tower and on to the Needles of South Dakota's Black Hills. I will post some pictures at some point- it was challenging great fun, and I truly learned a lot.

But, what really sparked my influence from this quote is the 12-hour adventure race I did this past weekend. Sponsored by the TralBlazers Adventure Racing club, this race took place in the hills of northern Georgia, near the Tallulah Gorge... I was able to race with my friends Zach and Donna- two of my greatest friends from college... point being, without bogging you down with too many details just yet, we raced for a personal team total of 15 hours and 19 minutes (not including a two hour deduction searching for a missing checkpoint marker- equaling an actual 13 hours and 15 minutes of racing).

During the race, I flipped over the handle bars of my bike, significantly injuring my left thigh- a pretty deep muscle bruise on the mid quadracep (right where the two top thigh muscles meet)... However, we knew we were finishing. It was ou first adventure race, so we went conservative on obtaining optionl checkpoints- choosin to stick with just required check-ins. At any rate. For me to finish the race I had to tell myself that my leg didn't hurt, and that it was necessary to run like I was,or to jog like I was, or to shrug off the newly acquired incapacity of upper left leg.

So, I did determine my future...that completing this race was just like facing bad weather in the Tetons; "It's gonna be okay," "You are going to finish safely..."

From the sharp end of the rope to the adventure racing circuit... the power of the human mind, body, and spirit never ceases to amaze me.

More to come later, glad to be back on the scene...

Much love,


Kevin


p.s. Racing with two of my great friends only helped me realize how much missing of my friends I actually do. Yeah - crazy... I think I have a litle bit of "uh oh are we all going to grow apart" anxiety..... any suggestions?

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Well Hello Again... Sea Kayaking Revealed!

Hello friends, family, members of society from the countryside...

I have had several days of" support staff" work around base after returning from my sea kayaking course. One of my students, Zakiya, just posted a lot of pictures from her camera that she took on our sea kayaking course. This inspired me to write a new blog entry, share some of her photos and some of mine too. We paddled for six days out in the field, one day at base in the beginning, and a closing morning on base for day 8. Although these pictures do not begin to encompass what we experienced, it will at least depict memories from our journey through the adventures of renewal. This course was called an "Adult Life Renewal" course. People from ages 30 to ages 63 or so... Challenging

themselves in the present, to reflect on their past and commit to some action plans to investigate and create their future.

I love sea kayaking. The northern everglades are a beautiful place to do it. Check out the following photos... if there is a "Z" near the photo Zakiya took it. If there is a "K" by it, I took it. Word. I hope you enjoy this peek into my life as an NCOBS instructor down in Florida.... it's a wild place- really...


Z - First of all, I worked with two amazing women: Kelly and Merle. Here we are relaing, NCOBS style.


Z- A curious pelican wonders if these are her multi-colored cousins... At our put-in site.


Z- But, before we left on our journey we had to explain all of the group gear... the night before we set off for the put-in.


Z- Before we could really do some adventuring, we taught students naviagtion. Here Kelly (right), teaches a lesson on chart reading. From there students were expected to navigate self-reliantly with little guidance from instructors.


Z- Here I am teaching about Tides. Did you know that in South Florida, we have semi-diurnal tides? That means we have not one high and low tide, but TWO high tides and Two low tides per day! Who knew?!
After learning anbout tides, the crew could make more effective float plans for the day. This would influence the "final" phase of their expedition, where they crafted their own path home...


Z- Here I am with some wild hair, and Jamie, sitting next to me has his bug net on. The no-see-ums were pretty intense that day. The crew had just come off from Solo- a time of intentional reflection. A few hours later and they were on "final"


Z- A little late night "Ambiance" at the Outward Bound Cafe


Z- a few of our students: Jeff (above)


Z- Barrett


Z- Zakiya & Kelly (one of my co-instructors)


Z- and Joel serving breakfast at the "Outward Bound Cafe"

So, needless to say - a lot of fun was had, challenges met, and renewal was realized. I hope that my new friends whom I had the pleasure of instructing, hanging out with, and getting to know are back in their homes... making a difference in their communities... and in their lives.

A few other shots from my camera...


K- my kayak, the Necky Elaho HV. a great boat to paddle on the swells and whitecaps of the Gulf of Mexico.


Kelly taking a picture of Jeff consturcting a lesson about the development and poor resource mamagement of South Florida



K- ME!


K- The whole crewjust before departing the island at course end:
Front Row (L-R): Zakiya, Joel, and Merle
Middle Row (L-R): Susan, Me, Kelly, Sarah, Ted, and Dana
Back Row: Jeff, Jamie, and Barrett

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Yep...

So,


me and two buddies from NCOBS (Lee & Bernie) drove to Marathon Key to see my friends Jessica and Thomas and Dan. We did. It was awesome. Then, we went to Key West for the night. It took me a second to remember the layout of the place, but after all of that? I remembered. It was fun. We stayed the night at a hotel on Duval St. fun times... We drove back through a monsoon. It flooded our base camp and made ouyr power go out. Scary. ...


Love,


Kshon

Friday, February 1, 2008

Back again...

Wonderful folks,


Hello, from Sunset Island, Florida!
I am back once again, yet going back to the field tomorrow. I completed the second session of Ransom Everglades... chilled for a day after post-course shenanigans.... then only to plan for a four day personal sea kayaking trip.

It was great to be in a sea kayak again with some of my good NCOBS friends. Well- I mean, I was in the kayak by myself- but there were five of us (each in our own kayak). We saw so many of the amazing south florida things to see: Dolphins fishing, a shark, sea turtles, sunsets, waves, sun, field food leftovers mixed with amazing freshly-bought veggies... But this wonder wouldn't be reality without mentioning the "bug hour" full of no-see-ums, mosquitos, and racoons that plague the human condition every evening as the sun goes down.


My buddy, Josh Harris, and I worked a lot on our bracing and sculling and other paddle work. It reminded how beautiful the kinesthetic art of paddle work can be. We paddled from our base camp toward an area called Goodland- over twenty miles travel total. We started off in some back bays and paddled towards the gulf. We hung out in the gulf of Mexico until the last four mile sof our trip and it was amazing. Simply amazing!

Many of the dolphins we saw were fishing for prey about 4 feet off of our bows...
At any rate. I have no photos of this trip -- but my buddy bernie took some I think... so if he gets them developed I'll post them here. Life is good at Sunset island and I miss many of you lots. Pleae drop me a line when you can... I'll try to do the same. More later!


Kevster

p.s. Courses are going great too!!!!!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Okay, okay, okay........



So,


Tomorrow, I go back in to the field for 5 days, working the second episode of Ransom of the Everglades 5 day GEP (Group Education Program) contract. I only have one measely picture to show you from session I depicting our innovative sleeping systems known as "boarding up" where we place planks of wood coated with Nautical grade sealant perpendicular to our canoes which becomes our floating home for the night. Yes - our "home" where we cook food, set up tents, use the bathroom, and store 5 days worth of supplies underneath. Pretty crazy; and by crazy I mean Amazingly awesome. This boarding system allows us to sleep, permit free, within the boundaries of Everglades National Park. The boards are normally stored underneath all of our equipment in the hull of the canoes.... so giving students opportunitites to set them up self-reliantly without aid from their instructors is a great team-building initiatve!

Check it...




And a few from my new satff training!


Jeff & Lindsay @ Gullivan Key


Josh Brown, Kelly, and Merle... Panther Key!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Swamp Thang...

I will edit more later.......


But basically... I am in the Florida Everglades...with some amazing people. In an amazing community. Doing amazing thngs. Please feel free to visit.

I just returned from a 5 day training expedtion.
It was awesome.

More on that later.
I leave for my first florida course in two days.


More later,


Kev

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

(s)Out(h)ward Bound...

Greetings all,

May this New Year bring you many good tidings, times, and tides- as the patterns and rhythms of life ebb and flow...

Today I leave for, ultimately, my winter destination of Everglades City, Florida. It is time that I experience flocking south for the winter... Usually more of a snow-lover, and one who loves working hard in white-capped peaks, I will exchange all of this for white-capped waves of the Florida coastal waters... Specifically the western coastal waters of Mexico's Gulf.

We OB instructors will be facilitating canoe and sea kayak courses in the Everglades. This will be my first time in the course area and I am really excited. However, my excitement has an all-balancing "other side". Last night I rang in this new year with the Chamberlains... Mr., Mrs., Maggi, Molly, and Sam & Gretchen! I miss them and my own family soooo much already and I technically haven't even driven away. You see, one of my best friends in the whole world (Sam) just returned from Iraq, and we were able to have some great quality time together- but tomorrow he and his wife, my other good friend- Gretchen will return to Alaska tomorrow. Maggi will return to North Carolina, Molly will go back to school... and the tide changes.

Sometimes the saddest part of saying "hello" again is knowing that, soon, one must also say "goodbye."

But... let's have a smile -- :)

And, smile once more, because no doubt- seeing loved ones and the closest of friends is priceless. Sure it's a melancholy affair of missing them and saying goodbye- but we all have our next great adventure waiting for us right around the corner! This is going to be a good year. These are the good times...

My ramblings of being happy about "hellos" and sad about "goodbyes" are part of the patterns and rhythms of goodtimes. They start, they stop, they linger, they go to quick...
Life is good. I digress...

I am super-stoked to be in such an ecologically amazing place as the everglades-and, although I have mentioned missing the mountains, the next time I write, I will be doing so from Southern Florida.

Happy New Year. Venture forth. Relentless adventures abound. For me? ... down south.
For you? ... Please, let me know.

Turn the corner, embrace the unknown, enjoy this year.


Adventure on,


Kev

http://www.nwf.org/everglades/images/mapEverglades.jpg
http://www.nwf.org/everglades/images/mapEverglades.jpg

http://www.solcomhouse.com/everglvisear1.jpg
http://www.solcomhouse.com/everglvisear1.jpg

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