Friday, January 31, 2014

this land

Yosemite Falls, 16 x 20, pastel on BFK
I cannot resist a national park when I travel. A month in California afforded me the chance to see three: Joshua Tree National Park, Pinnacles National ParkChannel Islands National Park, and Yosemite National Park.

I will never forget my first trip to Yosemite. I was eight years old and we went on a family summer vacation there. 

My grandmother was with us and that filled our stations wagon with: four kids, three adults, luggage, ice chests, pillows, and all manner of toys and books and other stuff for the four hour drive.

To help pass the time, my grandmother started to sing songs. Mom knew the songs and the two of them sang in a magical kind of harmony that captivated all of us kids. I begged them to sing the songs again and again so that I could learn their words and melodies and harmonies.

This week, Pete Seeger died and the media is filled with many tributes about the man and his music. Much of what I hear are the songs my grandmother and mother sang in the car on our way up to Yosemite. Maybe your family sang these songs on your car rides when you were a kid, too. "If I Had a Hammer," "Where Have All the Flowers Gone," "Swanee River," "On Top of Old Smokey," and one of my favorites, "This Land is Your Land."

Rest in peace, Pete Seeger. Thank you for your great love of our country and the people who live in it and for your legacy of music. Your message of peace and beauty will live on.

Pete Seeger and Arlo Guthrie "This Land is Your Land." 

No comments: