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.