Pete Seeger, now deceased celebrated his 100th birthday Friday. His wonderful songs, some his own and many from many cultures like Wimmiway (the Lion Sings) from Africa. Pete got us smiling and singing. Getting people to sing after he left Harvard, seems to be his main desire. He sees singing as a way of bringing us all together. I first encountered Pete at Buck’s Rock Work Camp. He sang to us all seated found him in a circle round, strumming his banjo and teaching us words. Everyone fell in love with him, with each other, with the world. Pete Seeger lived on in my heart.
Then one day a bunch of years later, when I was beginning to be an environmentalist and was discouraged about people in power sacrificing life to make more money, I found myself standing next to him waiting to cross a street. The traffic light was red.
As always, he had a banjo slung across his shoulder. I said, “Hello Pete,” and he said hello to me with a full and wonderful smile. I felt I needed to tell him of my lack of faith in change. I said how can we get anywhere against such powerful and greedy enemies.
He looked at me as the light changed, ready to stride across the street and said, “No Time for That.” I am reminded my whole life of his saying “Do it.” Do what you can and then do some more. Enjoy every minute of it. Share your intentions.
Thankyou Pete who created “The Clearwater Organization,” to clean the Hudson. How many people joined him then and are doing it still? Thankyou Pete, whose wife Toshi would race to the phone to keep him from getting another invitation to play to a group to which he invariably said yes.
Thankyou Pete, who reminded that love and courage fuel us. To Peete, an enlightened human being, there is nothing else.