Wednesday, January 29, 2014

And Now, a Word from My Life Sponsor(s)

Pete Seeger died on Monday. He was 94 and 10 days before he died, he was out chopping wood. His last public appearance was at Farm Aid in September of last year,  34 years older than me, he played a part in my life and the lives of many thousands of my tribe, his songs and activist deeds a background running theme well on its way before my consciousness kicked in. Back in those days, it was normal for 10 year old kids and 60 year old folks to hang out together, of one mind about music, war, peace and love. It seems unimaginable today.

Charles Kuralt, Jacques Cousteau, the Beatles, John Glenn, Neil Armstrong, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr., John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Betty Frieden, Rachel Carson, Herman Hesse, Nelson Mandela, Che Guevara, Margaret Mead, Daniel Berrigan, Dorothy Day...their names roll off my brain easier than whoever I was introduced to yesterday. I was drawn to them, influenced by them and obviously not quite in step with many of my peers (and looking forward to graduating from weird to eccentric). Pete Seeger's music was both a theme song and a life awareness that, while all was certainly not well in our world, we were in the fight for good together. Even a little kid like me was welcome.


Jon Pareles, in an article I found in the New York Times, seems to feel the same:

Pete Seeger sang until his voice wore out, and then he kept on singing, decade upon decade. Mr. Seeger, who died on Monday at 94, sang for children, folk-music devotees, union members, civil-rights marchers, antiwar protesters, environmentalists and everyone else drawn to a repertoire that extended from ancient ballads to brand-new songs about every cause that moved him. But it wasn’t his own voice he wanted to hear. He wanted everyone to sing along.

This land is your land, this land is my land (unless we let Monsanto have it all)
When I think about today's generation and look at the pockets of quiet resistance, I wonder where HAVE all the flowers gone? Where are the strong voices of change? They are out there. I read about them, I know some of them. But it's an underground river, it seems to me. The cultural icons of today are...who? American Idols? 'Reality show' participants? I couldn't name one under 40 that would resonate with any diverse group such as the ones I grew up with and around. If you can, let me know. 

House sitting where there is a television, I've been watching one reality type show, The Legend of Mick Dodge, put on by National Geographic. I started watching it because in a commercial for it, the name Sun Ray Kelley was mentioned and I thought, if this guy is good friends with Sun Ray, I want to see this show. I'm glad I did, I'm glad those guys are still out there - and mentoring younger men and women who are living lives without a screen in their hands. Underground rivers indeed...and encouraging that the waters are still alive and flowing, even if withdrawing from the [overused word] mainstream is how they flow. 

Let's never be quiet
But isn't that how rivers keep flowing, not always seen but strongly there? Pete Seeger's music and life and even his death might just wake up a few more people to the basics of what matters, what is worth fighting for, on the only planet we've got, the only life we have, here and now. 



Have a whiskered, whitehaired, wishful, wistful and watchful Wednesday. Do something worthy. Rest in Peace, Pete Seeger. But I doubt you will be resting; I'm sure there's more songs to be sung with your cohorts, where ever you are. We're listening.

10 comments:

  1. great post and list of people.........!

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  2. Yes, great post. There has been Pete Seeger tributes all over XM radio all day, starting with NPR's Bob Edwards at 6am. Past interviews with Pete, his family history, his history, his stories, his music. Fighting for workers rights, minority rights, womens rights. What a great man to look up to. Rest in Peace, Pete Seeger.

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    1. Thanks. Yes, I think anyone influenced by him added to the deluge of words and I almost didn't post but...it's my party and I'll add when I want to!

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  3. Timely and important observations!

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    1. Well, they are my observations anyway!

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  4. Some might say that Edward Snowden is (or should be) that kind of hero/role model. And I did love Doris Day but I'm not sure she belongs on a list with those other people (IMHO) :-)>

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    1. Who didn't love Doris Day? Yes, I think Edward Snowden could be in that place, though plenty disagree with me. He's certainly influencing some changes, whether they give him credit or give him prison.

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  5. Many game changing thinkers ended up in prison at one time or another. Great work Island Woman I've enjoyed the read...

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    1. Yep, prison or jail wasn't an unusual consequence of social activism and those Occupy folks got a taste of it as well. I was and am proud of them and hope they make a resurgence.

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