(Photo Credit: Joseph A. Horne, via the Library of Congress/Public Domain)
We lost a great American earlier this week, but in the larger scheme of things we really should be thankful and celebrate the life of Pete Seeger.
Sing while doing yard work, around the campfire, sing on the way to work, whether an annoying fast food jingle hummed softly or Wee-Ma-Way belted out in the relative privacy of your vehicle. Pete liked it that way.
From the NY Times in Tuesday’s edition, “Seeger…spent a long career championing folk music as both a vital heritage and a catalyst for social change…” Pete Seeger, it should be no mystery, actually was a major inspiration to LandPaths in its work of connecting people to land as a change agent to live richer lives right here in Sonoma County, towards a more whole community, a better world.
Pete Seeger has remained one of my primary heroes for as long as I can remember. In 1978 I picked up a five-string banjo for the first time and learned a Bob Dylan song. In 2010, at a national conference on the East Coast, I was tasked with leading 1,200 of my colleagues in land and community conservation from around the world in a song about farming and relationship with land. I asked this 1,200-voice chorus, before the downbeat, to sing out with passion in honor of Pete Seeger and his action of speaking up, singing out and standing firm for how we want to shape our world for good.
Apparently Pete was chopping wood just 10 days before he passed, according to his grandson, and had been seen in recent years in small towns in the Catskill Mountains of upstate NY – according to my eldest brother who lives there - playing his banjo on street corners with friends to passers by in order to promote peace. May the grandmothers and grandfathers of our farms and wild places, the keepers of our stories and those who would speak out, even sing out, for what is good in this world, live long and be known for the good that they have sewn. Just like the hero to many of us, Pete Seeger.
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