sprite writes
broodings from the burrow

May 3, 2005

how can i keep from singing?
posted by soe 12:18 pm

Especially when you learn that today is Pete Seeger’s 86th birthday?

Him: Protest singer, labor organizer, environmentalist, educator, world music champion, humanitarian. Activist, writer, idealist.

His songs: “Turn, Turn, Turn.” “All Mixed Up.” “If I Had a Hammer.” “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” “Guantanamera.” “Waist Deep in the Big Muddy.” “We Shall Overcome.”

I had the great fortune to hear Pete sing just days after September 11th. He had been scheduled to come to Wesleyan that week for a series honoring folk and protest music (I will call it folk music, even if the organizers — and Pete himself — refused to) and he made the trip during a week when reasonable people were cancelling events left and right.

But what Pete realized (as did the sell-out crowd at Crowell) was that in the aftermath of tremendous tragedy and confusion and of loss and anger that we needed to come together even more than ever.

A spry fellow, he sang a few songs. But the majority he made us sing, darting up and down the aisles of the theater to hand out lyrics sheets and song books.

If you believe that music can heal wounds and change the world, then Pete is one of the most powerful healers out there. His legacy is unequaled.


Sailing down my golden river
Sun and water all my own
Yet I was never alone.
Sun and water, old life-givers
I’ll have them where’er I roam
And I was not far from home.

Sunlight glancing on the water
Life and death are all my own
And I was never alone.
Life to raise my sons and daughters
Golden sparkles in the foam
And I was not far from home.

Sailing down this winding highway
Travellers from near and far
Yet I was never alone.
Exploring all the little by-ways
Sighting all the distant stars
Yet I was not far from home.

Sailing down my golden river
Sun and water all my own
Yet I was never alone.
Sun and water, old life-givers
I’ll have them where’er I roam
And I was not far from home.

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sarah to the rescue
posted by soe 1:01 am

Monday afternoon was made much more exciting for my coworkers and me as I was packing up a 17-box shipment to send out to a library. I was shifting boxes around to find the one I needed when suddenly I saw a giant cockroach.

(I should clarify: The Giant Burrowing Cockroach, found primarily in Australia, and the Giant Cockroach (known in Latin as Blaberus giganteus for the sound you make when you see a humungous bug scamper through your cupboards) can grow to be about 3.5 inches. This cockroach was not that big and was giant only by my terms, not by scientific naming standards. It was probably only 2 inches long. But when you’re dealing with cockroaches, really that’s big enough.)

When we first moved down to D.C., Rudi and I would periodically see cockroaches as the cats chased them around the apartment. Normally, we try to rescue bugs the cats want to play with, but I have learned to just let them kill the roaches. They don’t eat them, so I don’t see the problem. Particularly since we now only see a dead cockroach once every six months or so. Apparently word has gotten out in the cockroach community to avoid The Burrow.

But I digress.

So I loudly said, “Ewww! A giant cockroach!” which brought my two neighbors from their desks to help me out. Sarah volunteered to kill it. I, having planned to just let the bug go back into hiding, agreed to let her.

(Just for the record, I will kill cockroaches if I am the only one at home. I just prefer not to have to…)

Betty, Sarah, and I threw boxes to the left and right as the bug tried to make its escape. You almost felt sorry for it. It couldn’t help the fact that its box home had been dragged back from an off-site storage location and was rudely being rattled every time I went looking for a new box. (This is only true in retrospect. At the time, I was just thinking, “Ewww! A giant cockroach! Make it go away!”) But cockroaches are notorious multipliers, and no one wants to see 40 cockroaches running around our floor — least of all me.

After we jokingly suggested we should phone the senior manager in charge (who had been highlighted in an email as the person to contact in the event of a problem), Sarah came to the rescue — mercifully and quickly ending the life of the cockroach with a swift club from her clog. She was the hero of the afternoon. And the adrenaline rush from the escapade was enough to make that final hour just fly by for all of us.

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