The United States, relatively speaking, has a short history. I mean, in the way that it was conceived and the time it was organized. But the land that makes up the United States has a very long history and a very different conception.
Sometimes, on a beautiful morning, or watching a beautiful sunset at night, I feel closer here in the Red River Gorge to that land. There are still places here that can take your breath.
I think of the things I have read about my ancestors. The idea that land wasn’t owned but instead brought life to everyone. The reverence and awe for the place from which people drew their livelihood was important, a critical thought. The skills that were passed down were useful to survival.
There was no doubt that the spiritual things were real. Great mysteries abounded and mostly, people didn’t argue about their spiritual beliefs because people understood that they really didn’t know all the answers.
You were my brother and I was your sister. We had to work together to keep our tribe alive; safe and fed. We passed down histories, played games, and sang. We had skills like tanning, and sewing, constructing longhouses, hunting, and growing.
Now, especially in our large cities, much of that has passed. People who live right next door to one another often do not speak to one another.
When I speak of “tribe” I speak of the people you choose and the people who choose you. We must not lose that no matter how cold the world feels at times. There are people who will choose you. They will love you for who you are. They will accept you without ulterior motives or specific reasons. Those are the people whom we will build our world with now. They don’t have to be blood relation. The only criteria for friendship is connectedness.
And while many people continue to focus on romantic love when they speak of love, true love is a beautiful thing. We can feel love and affection for all of humanity. And when we do give or receive this precious thing, it isn’t revoked or reversed.
If you do only one thing with your life, I urge you to find your tribe.