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bear by san

March 2017



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spies avengers steed and peel needed

the time is now quite early morning

I went to church tonight.

This is not a usual occupation for me, but this was a special occasion. You see, Pete Seeger was being appreciated at the Cross Street AME Zion Church in Middletown, and it seemed like a good thing to do.

Some of you have probably figured out that Pete holds a special place in my heart. The title of "Gone to Flowers" is a clue, after all. The first concert I ever attended was Pete Seeger and Arlo Guthrie at Tanglewood, and I have very vague memories of it, but apparently I was captivated. (I was... probably three years old?)

Anyway, Pete is 91 now. He performed a few songs, and told a few stories (I say "performed:" he led the sing-along), and more of his songs/songs he popularized were performed by various choirs. My favorite was "Guantanamara" as performed by Connecticut's Only Mariachi Band, Fiesta del Norte, which included possibly the world's only mariachi alto sax, as played by young Ivan Hernandez.

Pete Seeger is a personal hero of mine: he seems to have developed a reputation as Mostly Harmless in his old age, but this is a man who was blacklisted during the McCarthy era, who was sentenced to ten years in jail for refusing to testify before Congress, and who was once stoned for daring to appear in concert with Paul Robeson. He's an environmentalist, a human rights activist, and a goddamned commie.

I'd say he's a living legend and a national treasure, but that would be damning with faint praise.

Pete Seeger is a human treasure.

He also has the gift of being able to give strength to others.

I haven't been feeling so great lately, honestly. It's been a bad few years in some ways, and a bad couple of days, and I've been feeling like I do more harm than good. Not for lack of trying, maybe, but because the problem with the real Omelas is that you can't walk away from it. It's everywhere: it's no so easy to avoid.

And let's face it: the last decade or so has not been real encouraging.

But Pete made me feel like not just as if I shouldn't quit trying, but as if it were actually worthwhile to keep up the fight.

I drove home in the blowing rain, listening to Matt Nathanson and trying not to cry so hard I couldn't keep driving.

Sometimes you need to be in a room with somebody who actually has changed the world more with a song than most people could with an army to be reminded that it is important to keep trying. It is important to keep trying.

The work is not upon us to complete, but that isn't exactly a goddamned excuse, now is it?

Oh here, Pete says it better:


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Agree with everything you said about Seeger. What a life.
And then there's the banjo renaissance, which is pretty much his...
For what it's worth, you inspire me to keep fighting the good fight.
Pete's 91. If he can keep swinging, so can I.

(He sang a new song about the Deepwater Horizon, among other things. Reader, I cried.)
I've never seen him in person and I would love to. What an amazing, powerful person!
He's the most inclusive performer I have ever seen. It really is Pete leading a sing-along.
It's like the universe knew I needed a cookie.

In fact, it must have, because there were actual cookies waiting for me when I got home. Free cookies! From Stash Tea. With my tea order.
The second vid made me tear up. Pete Seeger is quite an amazing person; I'm sorry I didn't know about him until a few years ago.
I am so envious. I would love to see him in concert.
I have had Pete as an antidote to exactly that same feeling, but not live in concert, only recorded. And I have had that same feeling this week. So I can relate for sure.

I'm glad you got to go.
Oh, happy. One of those evenings you remember years and miles away from now, then? I love those.
Thank you for sharing these thoughts - I was feeling pretty low myself tonight, and this really helped.
Thanks for the short trip back to my college days, when it looked like our generation had its priorities straight and "Where Have All the Flowers Gone" might become a quaint folksong of a bygone era. Sigh. We were so young. We were so stupid. But it was nice while it lasted.

Still, we gotta keep trying.
My generation is currently failing to save the world, too.

It's harder than it looks, apparently.
I've seen Pete Seeger twice, and he was quite incredible both times. I would have loved to see him in the 1950s or 1960s when his energy and voice were at their peak.

I think we all need inspiration some times.

The work is not upon us to complete, but that isn't exactly a goddamned excuse, now is it?

I saw him for years at Clearwater. His energy has always been incredible.
We saw Arlo and his whole family in concert last year. The sheer amount of love in his voice when he talked about Pete brought tears to my eyes.
They seem to like each other. *g*
I'm amazed to hear of someone touring at the age of 91! More power to him, I say.
Well, not so much touring as wandering over for an hour or so. *g*
But Pete made me feel like not just as if I shouldn't quit trying, but as if it were actually worthwhile to keep up the fight.

I really, really needed that reminder tonight. Thank you.
It's not just a duty. It might work. :-P
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