My Story
by Rob Kerchen
Special to The Times-Independent
Nov 08, 2018 | 682 views | 0 0 comments | 44 44 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Rob Kerchen with F. Bennion Redd.                 Courtesy photo
Rob Kerchen with F. Bennion Redd. Courtesy photo
Editor’s note: This is the final installment in a four-part series about one person’s journey to Moab, what keeps him here as a resident, and what feeds his mind. In the last installment, he writes about becoming the owner of some land in San Juan County, sort of gifted to him by a man named F. Bennion Redd.

I’m not a young man and I have no children of my own, and I’ve been trying to find a way to justify the blessings of a lifetime. This piece of property that Bennion gifted to me has been giving me those answers. It gave me a place to begin.

I have been exploring and discovering everything about this land and the creatures that inhabit it. I tried to take it apart piece by piece, to understand how it worked. I am beginning to see the way everything is intimately connected. Nothing is really separate. No one in this world is really alone. I am trying to get a sense of the spirit of this place that the ancient ones felt, who lived in such an intimate way with the land that they never felt a disconnect.

One by one, the people I have met have turned out to be good people. Those of who have been here the longest have a deeper connection to this land. Yes, we are all immigrants. We were all drawn to this place. Many, if not all of us, were trying to escape the world we left behind. This place brings people together in ways I have never seen anywhere else in the world.

Lately though, I’m worried that feeling has become somewhat diluted. There are so many of us, and so many of the people I run into are only here for a few days. It doesn’t quite feel so much like the back of beyond. And as more money, more wealth, more corporations come, many are coming to cash in on those crowds, but they’re missing the magic.

I’m not going anywhere. This is my home now. It will always be magical to me. There will always be arches and hoodoos and new discoveries at every turn and the stillness will endure. This will always be a place of time out of mind. I just think there has to be a way to preserve and protect and preserve that quality that has seeped into our bones. The people coming here are a blessing for us. There has to be a way we can share the responsibilities and reap the rewards. We can do it together.

After the American Revolution, when our founding fathers got together to form a more perfect union, they didn’t have a clue about how to do that. The only model they had was the same old model the human race has been using since there were more of us than could all sit comfortably around a campfire. All our founding fathers could agree on were the principles of democracy. They couldn’t even trust themselves to make the rules; they handed it off to future generations to figure out. They tried to make some ground rules to try and level the playing field, but the outcomes are always the same. You always end up with winners and losers. But we’ve become stuck. We have to find a way we to change that.

This representational model of democracy isn’t living up to its principles. We all have to be involved in all levels of the process, from the ground up. We need to practice a democracy that engages every one of us. We may not have seen it happen anywhere yet, but I am convinced that we can have it happen right here.

Let’s pool our resources. Why can’t we put it to work for all of us. All we have to do is to agree on what we want, and we can do it together. Everyone is capable of having a conversation, so all we really need to do is get people together.

We ourselves should be caretakers of this land, and who better to be caretakers of the people who come to experience a bit of the magic.

I want to honor the gift Bennion gave me. The spirit that moved him was not exclusive. Bennion’s gift was meant for all of us. The uncertainties of the world are coming into our sanctuary and tearing us apart. We have to find a way to stay together and address the challenges together. This could be the thing the founding fathers were searching for, a way out of our uniquely human dilemma. Let’s take care of each other.

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