I Am You and You Are Me
By Sauvelyne (Addie) Randel
We have never formally spoken, but it is best that I write to you before it is too late. Many know me as Natura. Throughout the centuries of humankind and even prior, I have witnessed every manner of death and rebirth. There is beauty in the stories I have watched unfold. There have been moments when heroes have risen from the ashes. And there have been times when a hero never comes. I am calling on you to be the hero of this story, so that you and I can both live to see tomorrow.
Egocentrism is thinking only of oneself, without regard for the feelings or desires of others. Humankind oftentimes has proven itself to be egocentric and individualistic. The consequences of these actions have directly influenced situations like the climate crisis: heatwaves, droughts, fires, extreme flooding and storms, even the pandemic. Yet too few of you are seeking immediate or even long-term solutions. Will you reconsider? Change often requires the committed actions of a large number of people. The most human reaction as the world is breaking into fragments is to save only yourself, but you need me to survive.
I know we do not trust each other; however, I ask that you place your trust in me. When have I ever led you astray? I am health. I am culture. I am faith and religion. I am language. I am food. I am migration. I am community. I am identity. I am society. Every present and past being has played a vital role in your life. History continues to show where my loyalty lies, and it is with the people—despite all of the roads, mines, and fossil fuel extraction you’ve permitted that have hurt your own people and myself.
I still have your best interest at heart. During the pandemic, humans have struggled significantly with a variety of challenges—in particular, mental health. As a result they have relied heavily on me as a way of coping. I would like to think that I have been an indispensable advocate for your health and happiness. I have had people of diverse backgrounds and beautiful souls roam across me, not in search of anything in particular, but rather in search of peace. It is peace that I want to extend as an offering to you.
My culture is an inviting one that embraces everyone. I am a place where people that have inexhaustible amounts of energy go. I am also a place for the weary to rest and to heal. I am who you run to in hopes of drowning out the noise of the world. I am the vista that reminds you there is something more vast beyond the myopic views of your institutions. There are few left that believe in who I am and what I stand for. In the literal sense, I am everything that can be seen, from the mountains that rise and fall with my breath to the trees that sway to the commotions of life. Symbolically, I represent new life and opportunity for animals and humankind alike.
However, it appears that I am slowly dying. But I refuse to do so quietly. Throughout history, you have polluted my waters and removed my roots from this very land. If you do not learn to cherish what we share, in due time, we will all be a figment of the future’s imagination. Although it is assumed that I am self-sustaining , I have come to the realization that I need you as much as you need me. We need to believe in each other in order to right all the wrongs. With your help, there will be a future worth living for.
Although you and I may look different, we are more similar than you know. The language we speak is an unspoken one, but it has kept us together throughout the years. My role has changed occasionally over time, but people have confided in me with their secrets. Those who seek out or stumble upon my knowledge treasure it for what it is. My face is painted across the mountains when the sun shines upon it. My hands and arms are the canyons that stretch out to anyone in search of their touch. The lakes and rivers that run are my legs. The animals who travel by sky are my eyes. The animals found roaming the land are my ears. While the wind is my breath, my heart is made up of you:humanity. I have cared for you and kept you near to me. I hope in return that you will do the same.
It is because of me that you, and everything living, have life. The communities that you have built include me in every way. I would like to believe that I have brought each and every one of you together for a greater purpose. For every person it may differ, but each of you have called to me in some way. Some come for clarity, others may be in search of freedom, or opportunity. When you draw near to me, over time you will begin to find yourself in places you’ve never imagined. You may even find yourself in a beautiful place like Utah, Where the reflections of the sun, moon, and stars bounce off of the stunning canyon walls and flowing rivers.
We have an obligation to the future to maintain the world in which we currently reside. Everything is interconnected. The air that we inhale and exhale is fundamental to life on this planet. The waters that fill our oceans, rivers, and lakes are a necessity to life. The land bears our food. Without this reciprocity, neither of us can live nor thrive. I trust that you have listened, and that you will do what it takes to be my hero, and the hero of present and future generations.
We are all connected. I am you and you are me, so take care of us.
About the Author
Hello my name is Sauvelyne (Addie) Randel (she/her), I was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti but have lived a large majority of my life in Colorado. I am currently a Sophomore at Colorado Mesa University. Academically, I am pursuing a Political Science degree with a Spanish minor. I compete at the varsity level on the CMU women’s soccer team.
At the end of the day, my dream has always been to serve underrepresented communities in any way I possibly can. After graduating, I hope to use my Spanish and knowledge of the systems within the United States to become a translator in the courts. When my focus is extended beyond academics or athletics, I enjoy finding a spot in the sun to read or write poetry. I believe there is so much to be found within a novel or outside, and more times than not it finds you. One of the greatest escapes we have is in our backyards!