I don’t understand how people can watch Micheal Vick play football. Yes, I’ve heard the arguments, where sports enthusiasts profess that they are not bothered by what he does in his personal life, as long as he can throw a ball. Or catch it, or whatever he does. (I told you, I can’t watch.) But to me, that’s like saying you don’t mind if someone is a nazi, providing they can make a mean sandwich. I imagine that people must subconsciously turn off a section of their brains, ignoring their inherent wish for balance, in an effort to erase what they know to be true of the man who notoriously tortured dogs for fun. Luckily, there is no such disconnect when it comes to loving the music of Dave Matthews. In fact, in his case, both the man and his art are exceedingly easy to adore.
Over the years, Dave has supported many important causes from Live Earth, to Farm Aid, to Green Music Group. His contribution to saving the environment encompasses both his participation in various organizations, as well as, his ability to infuse vital messages about protecting Mother Earth into his lyrics. The song “One Sweet World,” is a particularly poignant example of his love for our planet. The words, “Nine planets around the sun, only one does the sun embrace; Upon this watered one, so much we take for granted,” remind us of the fragility of the ground over which we tread. Like good health, our surroundings will disintegrate under the indifferent gaze of neglect.
So it comes with no surprise to learn that Dave has been appointed governing council member of The Wilderness Society, a group that is dedicated to serious conservation efforts. Dave’s work will help to preserve the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska and the Alpine Lakes in Washington State. In addition, anyone can get involved by going to their website, www.wilderness.org, and sending a sample letter to congress to support Dave in his endeavor.
In true Dave fashion, our frontman has not only lent his celebrity to this cause, he has also written a poem as fecund as the forest themselves:
How would I explain a forest to
Someone who has never been in one
The trees and the wind thru them,
The birds and their songs and
Their acrobatic flight about the branches.
The smell of the last time and
The time before and the time before
That, that I was in the woods. The
Sound and the silence. The peace
And the crunch of the leaves and their branches
on the snow. The sound of a stream or
A woodpecker or a squirrel disappearing.
And the trees reaching up and up
And up to gather the sun and turn
Light to air. To jigsaw the moonlit winter
Sky. The trees like a fortress for the natural
World. What if I could not take my
Children for a walk in the woods.
With any luck this will be transformed into a soulful ballad at some point. But for now, it just feels so right to cherish the melodies of a singer whose heart includes such a vast space for our one sweet world.
Hayley Bauman, Psy.D.
Author of Serendipity and the Search for True Self