Sharing the love

Luke Mehall - 01/12/2017

Recent happenings in America, most notably the rise in Trumpism, have made me remember something I realized long ago: I don’t like people. I only love people.

If one is blessed enough in this country, then we are afforded the luxury of a proper education. I skated through high
school on a cocktail of drugs prescribed for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. I was awkward, I was angsty, I was America. But at the time, I hardly knew that. There are times in life when we just need to stay the course, to fall in line and dream of better days.

I bounced from one big Midwestern university to another, aided by those ADD drugs. Somehow, I ended up in Colorado, at a place where I could receive the proper education for the type of mind that God had given me: Western State. It was a small, liberal arts college nested in the Rocky Mountains, surrounded by sage, rocks and trees. Finally, I got off the drugs and on nature and The Truth.

At this place, after 14 years of institutional learning, I went back in time and finally learned the honest history of humans. Oh, how it made me ashamed. Why didn’t they tell us this right off the bat in elementary school? They give us Columbus and Jesus first, and the truth later. They tell us what not to do, but not what has been done. They tell us America is great, but they don’t tell us America was built upon the back of the slaves and genocide. Or that economic injustice is a side effect of almighty capitalism.

Around this time, I realized I was not capable of liking humans. We were too flawed, it was too easy to be a bad one; it was so acceptable, even honored.

But, I decided, I was capable of loving humans. In solitude living in a tent, I realized I could not fathom a life without others. No one will take care of us in this life except for our fellow human beings.

When the winter came and I was unprepared, my fellow humans offered me shelter, expecting nothing in return. When I needed hope, I was offered poetry for free and literature from libraries in a safe and warm space, with no prior investment other than a beating heart and a free mind.

If there is one thing every American should do, it is to travel the world. All over the Earth you’ll hear the same story: we all have done terrible things to one another, and we all help each other out in extraordinary ways. And if one is lucky enough to see the beautiful, generous, open side of the human race, how is there ever any turning back? Even when you don’t like people, how can you not love humans? Our very existence lies within our reliance on each other.

And then you have the land upon which we all live (and die). Many of us are afforded the luxury of having a favorite

place from a wide scope, from the woods to the mountains or the rivers. Perhaps someday, humans will be able to pick their favorite inhabitable planet. One of the most underreported stories in recent years is the NASA discoveries of earthlike planets. Steven Hawking says we only have a thousand years left here anyway.

I have not cashed in on the luxury of travel as much as many of my peers have. Still I have seen paradises in Latin America. I have seen my country, coast to coast, and I have peeked into Canada. My favorite place is the American Southwest – the Colorado Plateau, most specifically, and the underexplored places of Indian Creek.

Late last year, President Barack Obama designated my favorite place as part of the new Bear’s Ears National Monument. This will both protect my favorite place from development, while also possibly changing the character of the land that has made it my favorite place. I’ve loved exploring Indian Creek because of the lack of regulation (read government officials); the greatest crack climbing known to humankind; and the red rock landscape that speaks to you in poetry of the Gods if you listen carefully enough.
This designation was anything but universally celebrated. The lone, long-time permanent resident of Indian Creek, rancher Heidi Redd, was vocally against it. I’ll leave

my full opinion to future writings, but I’ll tell you I celebrated the move – especially with Trump’s administration and a Republican-controlled Congress on the way.

Revolution soon may be at hand in our country. History has proven that love and nonviolence are some of the most powerful tools we have. History has also shown that nuclear weapons are some of the most powerful tools we have. We are about to have an unstable, evil, person in control of the latter. But, we humans control the former. What will happen nobody quite knows. But I know my love will continue to grow for humankind.

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