Natural Bridges

Our latest mass shooting was in Dallas. Many people offered responses to this tragedy. For example, someone on the news said we need to build bridges. I was left speechless for a while. But now, here’s my response:

I see no need to build any bridges. Natural bridges already exist between us.

Kachina Bridge, Natural Bridges National Monument, Utah.  "Kachina" is a Hopi word for "spirit being." And just like a spirit, it's very hard to see. Look closely at the middle-left of the photo.
Kachina Bridge, Natural Bridges National Monument, Utah. “Kachina” is a Hopi word for “spirit being.” And just like a spirit, this bridge is hard to see. Look closely at the middle-left of the photo.

Sometimes it’s hard to see these bridges that naturally connect us. This happens when people insult and accuse and debase each other so that everyone seems less than human.

“Those bastards are criminals.”
“Cops are bullies.”
“Hoodlums!”
“Racists!”
“Terrorists!”
“Murderers!”
“Scum!”

When we demonize each other, we dehumanize each other. And then we can’t see our common humanity.

Sipapu Bridge, Natural Bridges National Monument, Utah. The closer you get to these bridges, the easier they are to see.
Sipapu Bridge, Natural Bridges National Monument, Utah. The closer you get to these bridges, the easier they are to see.

But everyone has the same basic needs. We all need to eat. We all need shelter. We need to be safe, secure, and comfortable. We need equal justice for everyone. We need respect. Anybody in this world, regardless of race, gender, religion, or political beliefs, needs these things.

Our common needs connect us like natural bridges. What disconnects us is our strategies for getting our needs met. That’s where arguments, wars, and mass shootings arise. But only when we dehumanize each other.

The arch of Sipapu Bridge. Sipapu means "hole", or "portal".. Hopi legend has it, that the first people entered this world through a sipapu, and then morphed from lizard-like beings into human form. From there they divided and separated into different tribes.
The arch of Sipapu Bridge. Sipapu means “hole”, or “portal”. Hopi legend has it, that the first people entered this world through a sipapu, and then morphed from lizard-like beings into human form. From there they divided and separated into different tribes. Reminds me of a theory of Darwin.

When we remember our common needs we are able to see each other as we see ourselves. And then it’s easy to find strategies that enable everyone to get their needs met, and that everyone can agree on. It doesn’t require genius or skilled diplomats. Anyone who recognizes our common needs, even a small child, is smart enough to find our natural bridges and figure out how to reconcile our differences.

Owachomo Bridge, Natural Bridges National Monument, Utah.  "Owachomo" is Hopi for "rock mound". The bridge is at the upper middle of the photo. And the eponymous rock mound is at the left abutment of the bridge.
Owachomo Bridge, Natural Bridges National Monument, Utah. “Owachomo” is Hopi for “rock mound”. The bridge is at the upper middle of the photo. And the eponymous rock mound is at the left abutment of the bridge.

Our natural bridges are solid as rock. They can never be burned or otherwise destroyed. They stand waiting to be found, patiently and eternally.

Owachomo Bridge. A quarter-mile hiking trail leads to the bottom of this bridge.
Owachomo Bridge. A quarter-mile hiking trail leads to the bottom of this bridge.

Always ready to support those who are willing to cross.

Below the Owachomo Bridge.
Below the Owachomo Bridge.
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11 thoughts on “Natural Bridges

  1. Well said. I watched “Selma” and “To Kill A Mockingbird” this week. In both, the “us” vs. “them” and “we” vs. “they” mentality led to feelings of separation and superiority . . . which led to conflict and violence and hatred and prejudice.

    When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace.
    ~ Jimi Hendrix

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is a great post, Tippy. Explains perfectly how we distance ourselves and others and how to find our way back. When someone is like you, they are easier to like. And we are all much more alike than we want to admit.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks. I was once involved in a bitter political struggle within my union. I noticed that there was an us vs. them mentality, and it was very hard to point out human traits in “them” without being met by a wall of silence from my fellow “us’s”. Hard to cross bridges when that kind of attitude prevails.

      Liked by 1 person

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