Travel Journal: One Wild and Precious Life

Sitting on the Seattle Link train, I was immensely entertained watching a little girl playing with her mother; making faces, burrowing her face in her mom’s shoulder, and asking questions about the passing scenery. Across the isle from me, a man was watching the pair with furtive glances. His eyes revealed the simple pleasure of seeing someone completely free. There was something in his expression, however, that did not fit. His eyes betrayed a tremendous smile, but, with visible effort, he kept his mouth tightly shut. Something kept him from expressing how joyful the moment was. I didn’t get to see it, but I bet his smile splits his face from ear to ear, is filled with big white teeth, and is often accompanied by rolling belly laughs.

I have thought many times about all that was contained in this moment. Seeing the struggle on the man’s face reminded me that I am robbing the world of joy when I do not express myself fully. I was on my way to visit a Waldorf school, that morning, where I hoped to learn how this alternative program addresses self expression. My friend, Massimo is being home schooled with a Waldorf curriculum, and everything I hear about Waldorf and its founder, Rudolph Steiner, illustrates a thoughtful holistic view of human development. More than anything, I connect with the emphasis on nurturing self esteem as part of education. During my visit, I was impressed by the classwork I saw. It was colorful, rich, and showed great care. It was evident that the students were invested in their learning, and were doing more than creating geometric patters, learning rules of punctuation, or reading about Julius Caesar. The goal is not to get good grades, it is to support the development of free, responsive adults. Steiner’s ideas resonate with me, because he was asking questions about human nature, and seeking answers in practical arenas.

These two experiences are tied to the latest development in my life, and the reason for this blog post. I keep thinking of a line from a Mary Oliver poem. It asks the question, “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

I have never had a clear vision of what my life would look like, but it has always been a goal to be myself fully, to learn and grow every day, and not squander my one precious life. In the past few weeks, my plan has changed a great deal. I have decided to leave Zion Adventure Company to pursue teaching at a Waldorf school.  I am putting it all on the line, and wagering that my intuition will guide me to a place where I can realize my greatest potential. This means leaving a job and a community that I care about deeply, going back to school, and making the commitment to a completely new lifestyle. I am packing up my possessions, bidding farewell to my friends, and setting out on a great adventure. I am thankful for everything I have learned at Zion Adventure Company. I have no doubt that my time here was an important part of an ongoing journey. This may be my last blog post on the Zion Adventures site, but it will always be a part of me.

Take great care.
Calvin Laatsch


About Calvin

Calvin Laatsch guides canyoneering, rock climbing, and mountain biking trips at Zion Adventure Company; he also consults staff and clients alike on Norwegian customs, smooth dance moves, and the latest in dirtbag fashion. Bring your binoculars with you on the Zion Scenic Drive, and there’s a good chance you’ll see Calvin WAY up a wall, testing his mettle in form-fitting jeans.
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