“We are stardust, we are golden
We are billion year old carbon
And we got to get ourselves back to the garden”
Woodstock, by Crosby, Stills and Nash
I came across an article the other day about a book about to be released that immediately resonated with me: “Are You Still Listening: 1969 Essays,” is authored by those brave souls who were a witness to the year 1969, a year that transformed an entire generation, and who not only lived to tell about it, but to reflect on its meaning on this, its 50th anniversary.
So what happened in 1969 that was so important? Well, Woodstock, for one, an event that has yet to be equaled even though many have tried. Neil Armstrong walked on the moon in 1969. The protests against the Viet Nam War came to a fever pitch. And then there was what has affectionately been dubbed the summer of love. One of the contributing authors, Brent Green, summed up the theme of the book nicely:
“For those who lived through a boisterous year that was 1969, are we still listening to the hopes and dreams expressed by youth from that pivotal year? Do we hear their fears as we confront today’s mendacious and self-serving manipulators? Let the past remind us of what we are not now. Because we are still listening.”
Are we still listening? Do we still hear the call of those principles and beliefs that moved us out of the comfort of our socially acceptable lifestyles and into the streets? Even if you are not a member of the Boomer Generation, do you believe that any of its achievements have trickled down to your life, things like the Civil Rights Movement, or equal rights for women, things that allow you to be and do things that, back then were considered milestones in our cultural evolution? I think one of the things that sticks out in my mind the most as I reflect back was how the so-called summer of love was just that. People reached out to others. Strangers meeting up on the road or at events openly shared what they had with each other, sang with each other, marched with each other, and stood by each other. Everyone had everyone’s back whether friend or someone they just met. Our goals were shared, our dreams were worth taking chances for, and our hopes for the future were right there in front of us all the time. Now as author Bob Moses tells us:
“It still amazes me how naively trusting we were in those halcyon days. Now, fifty years later, we worry about going to a movie, a concert, a church, a synagogue or a Walmart—for fear of some crazed ideologue shooting us like fish in a barrel. Or fleeing from our homes in time to escape an oncoming hurricane, broken levee, killer flood, merciless twister, or a raging firestorm that leaps across highways and outruns cars and turns them into molten metal caskets…What happened? To us? To our country? Where have all the flowers gone? We, who are now older, sometimes remember simply to forget.”
This is not meant to be my own personal tirade against the times. It is a reminder that our work here is not yet done. Building an authentic life for ourselves seems like an empty gesture if we don’t include our place in the world and those around us. Once upon a time, we knew how to find our way into the garden. Now we have to find our way back, and take the generations coming up behind us along for the ride. Even if you, the person reading this now, is not a Boomer, you can certainly find the music inside you that whispers, “where is your garden, and what are you growing?”
Over on the Home Page, our writing assignment for this week is going to ask you to start planting your own garden. As always, have fun with it and remember to just keep writing.
Peace and blessings.