I have barely ever been so glad to see the backside of a week. It was total insanity. Tonight most folks are probably watching the SuperBowl, but I have been sitting and knitting, listening to music. And all I can think about is that we lost Pete Seeger this past week. Maybe the mojo of losing one of the 20th century’s most special people sent a wave into the Force and it got us all crazy. Who knows.
I never thought that Pete would die. Somehow he would make it, and always be there for us. I was raised on Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie, Joan Baez, Peter, Paul and Mary (as well as classical music). As a child of the ’50s and ’60s, it just is not right to have lost him, even though he lived a very long and productive life. He never stopped working for equality, human rights, and the environment. I can’t think of anyone that can top that. I know the music will live on, but it feels like a very final chapter of sorts, leaving a definite void.
While knitting this evening I happened to hear the Indigo Girls’ song ‘Hey Kind Friend.’ It never fails to remind me of Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger riding the rails all over this amazing country, gathering folk songs and playing their own as well. Post-depression era America is not typically hit very fully in high school American history classes, and it’s a time that my parents spoke of, but as remembrances from their young adult lives, not as adults, with all the responsibilities of adulthood. I remember when we first moved out of NYC into the North Jersey suburbs, us kids loved to play in the woods up at the end of our dead end street, right near the railroad. Our moms were very clear that if we played in those woods, The Hobos would appear and maybe scare, hurt us, or worse. The riders of the rails still made folks uncomfortable, even in the sixties. (I think that I always secretly hoped that we would meet a magical kind of troubadour jumping off one of those freight trains, but the woods were eventually cut down and all but gone by the time I was 10.)
I can’t imagine that Pete Seeger won’t continue to make a difference in the future. I am hoping that it’s not the end of something that has meant so much to so many of us.