In the summer of 2018, ESA in the USA, our domestic travel adventure program, took students to the southwest to explore art, culture, geography, and history. The group of sophomores, juniors, and seniors explored an area where the arid landscape influences every aspect of life for those who inhabit the region. In the group's chapel presentation about the trip, Lauren, '21, shared this entry from her journal:
immensity of the land
July 1, 2018 10:45 pm
never have i experienced land without distraction and an experience without worry and fear. adventures and changes scare me. standing on the edge of a canyon scared me. white water rafting scared me. climbing ladders to cliff dwellings scared me. but, all of these things have led to me becoming more bold and adventurous than i was before. i stood at the lookout of soda canyon at mesa verde scared to find the bottom. i didn’t know if i should go closer or stand further away when i realized that if i spend my whole life being scared of things i don’t want to do, what will i accomplish and experience? i moved closer and saw the enormous canyon below and thought that i would have never been there to look down again if i would have sat in the shade 20 feet back. i found a large rock that sat over the canyon when i decided to just go for it and find a place on it to sit. i sat on the ledge of the rock looking over the enormous rock formations that have created deep and wide cracks in the earth’s surface. the grand canyon was another place where i have fear of moving towards the edge of the cliff but when i got there it was the craziest most amazing thing i have ever experienced. i couldn’t wrap my head around the height or immensity of the landform. i didn’t understand that it was okay to have some fear in life but not everything you do has to have some underlined aversion towards it. we are truly our own heroes and if we can overcome the fear of peeking over a rock to see the bottom floor of a canyon then we can canoe the colorado river like John Wesley Powell or express our art like Chip Thomas or continue to share legends like Howard from spider rock campground. so if we begin to fear a little less than before and do the things we might never experience again, those experiences will grow upon each other and those reflections will shape us into who we truly are.