A Time to Mourn, A Time To Dance
Music lost a great legend last week, with the death of the iconic folk singer, Pete Seeger, who died of natural causes, at age 94. Undoubtedly, he influenced many, not only with his talent, but also, with his peaceful outlook on life. One of his biggest fans, it turns out, was our favorite pacifist, Dave Matthews.
In a segment published by Mike Ayers in the January 28th, issue of Rolling Stone's website, Dave made the following heartfelt statement:
" A Pete Seeger concert was the first concert I ever saw. My parents took my brother, my sisters and me. I will never forget it. I was little. Dancing in a field in upstate New York while the grown-ups sat on the grass. My parents and family raised me on music of all sorts and Pete Seeger was a big part.
I met Pete Seeger more than 30 years after I first saw him play and having listened to his music over those years it was somewhat awe inspiring. We had lunch. He was so funny and charming, humble and brilliant, all at once. Full of hope but disappointed in our wasteful ways.
He was almost 90 when we met and after lunch he slid down the bannister because stairs were hard on his knees. He slowed himself gracefully at the bottom and hopped lightly off his perch. His wife, Toshi complained about his recklessness through her laughter.
He made me want to be a better person. Why don't we lend our ears to the greatest among us. Pete Seeger fought for the working people and he fought against greed, and corruption, and war, and pollution, until the end of his life. Even though he was frail he came and performed at FarmAid just a few months ago.
Thank goodness for Pete Seeger.
It's funny to think of your idol as having an idol of his own. But learning about Mr. Seeger's viewpoints makes it easy to see why Dave, and countless others, felt so inspired by him. In an interview with Beliefnet, Pete shared his views on God. He said:
"I feel most spiritual when I'm out in the woods. I feel part of nature. Or looking up at the stars. [I used to say] I was an atheist. Now I say, it's all according to your definition of God. According to my definition of God, I'm not an atheist. Because I think God is everything. Whenever I open my eyes I'm looking at God. Whenever I'm listening to something, I'm listening to God."
Beautiful words from a beautiful man.
Another famous quote from Pete Seeger reads, "Some seeds fall on stones, don't even sprout, but some seeds fall on fallow ground, and multiply one hundred fold." Of this, one might say that Pete Seeger's legacy is the type that fell on fallow ground, multiplying in the hearts and hands of so many musicians who followed in his footsteps. Rest easy, Pete Seeger. Your message has caught a ride with the wind, and there's no telling how far it will go.
Hayley Bauman, Psy.D.