Posted by: suek2001 | September 6, 2016

“I was born in the heat of September”

As I write this, it is September 5th…..and it happens to be John Stewart’s birthday…

I was thinking of what to write on this occasion but I wasn’t sure..as my mind wasn’t in the celebratory mood….there’s been something else on my mind….the passage of time….

John Stewart wrote a LOT of great lines on that subject..and also on birth and death…and in Minnesota this past weekend, we had a bit of both….

On Friday, I spent the day with friends…celebrating the anniversary of my birthday…45 years ago…and just enjoying being around people I loved….

Then the news broke Saturday….the remains of an 11 year old boy were found just outside of his hometown…about an hour north…He’d been missing since 1989…and it was an abduction that reshaped the lives of generations to come..

..and with that sadness…..I thought of this line from John Stewart’s song ” I Remember America”…

—–“I Remember America, when kids could walk alone, got to corner for rootbeer float and safely make it home”…

I thought of Jacob Wetterling every time I heard that….and now, the knowing that he’s gone..and was only on this planet for 11 years…touches me deeply….and it’s lyrics from John Stewart songs that speak to me this weekend…

“No one’s getting younger and a few aren’t getting old”—from Kansas…..

…and this one…

“Today’s so soon, tomorrow ,you’re old”–Missouri Birds…

…or this one…

“I was born in the heat of September and I died in the cool of the Fall, oh borning and dying ,we do most the time ,you know know it don’t mean much of nothing at all”…–from Cooler Water, Higher Ground..

 

The last one ran through my head this weekend…as we mourn the loss of a child that will never grow up….and celebrate a man who touched so many of us….and this line struck me most….because it is one I wholeheartedly disagree…

I love John Stewart…I truly do…and his lyrics speak to the hope..the truth…and the longing for better days…we all seek them…and those who love music..are seekers of truth on some level….

John was great at exposing the heart of who we are…but this ONE sentiment, he got wrong…at least how I read it….and I read it as the actions of being born and dying  have no real meaning to them…

I beg to differ…..I am sitting here in my living room..because I was born….and the impact that so many others have had on my life spiritually and physically, cannot be underestimated…I’m slowly realizing that I have an impact as well….and I try my best to be a good one..failing at it on more than one occasion…

..and John Stewart’s impact….something tells me he never really “got” how deeply his music would change so many lives..He picked up that banjo and one of the greatest folk acts of all time was able to move forward….and then he plowed into a solo career with a staggering amount of output…and resonance…that people STILL want to hear his music eight years after his death…

John Stewart is the reason I go to one of the hottest places in the USA…Scottsdale, AZ….at the hottest time of year…It is the reason, I now have a circle of friends that span the globe…a family of friends….and it’s more than his music…it’s our love for each other that binds us…

I would say his life had a huge impact on a lot of people….

So, maybe John’s motivation might have been for us to examine how our lives have impact? I have no idea….and I thought of that line today, as I saw several mothers hold their newborns…and realized that each birth brings new hope…new chances for impact…and the ripples of our lives will continue…

..and then my thoughts circle back to those remains of that 11 year old boy….his family is in grief….his town is in a reluctant shock…and his home state is in a reflective mode…His life mattered to all of those he touched…and those he left behind…in the 27 years since his disappearance, laws have been changed…and authorities have gotten a bit better at connecting the dots…and parental guidance is a way of life now…

The cliche is that he didn’t die in vain…and there’s truth to that…just like John Stewart’s life wasn’t in vain..his art had impact..his life as a husband and father  had impact far beyond what fans see…

I would love to know John’s mindset in writing that lyric from Cooler Water, Higher Ground…I may be missing the point of it all but the thing I would say to him is that his work here on earth mattered….and we will never forget it…

So, I shall close with some John Stewart videos….these are friends who love the music…and still sing it whenever they can..

Here’s Tim Dismang and the John Stewart Band..Strange Rivers:

 

..and Steve Cottrell and friends singing “July, You’re a Woman”..

 

..and Tom O’Donnell covering “Dreamers on the Rise”..

 

..and the current lineup of the Kingston Trio doing Jasmine:

..and I might as well mention that I covered a John Stewart song in August…

All of these songs mean something to each one of us…that was John’s impact….a light shining in a dark world at times….and it is up to us to keep that light shining long after our friends are gone…

 

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