Hand in Hand with Friends Above
I am still reflecting on my sailing trip down the Hudson on Thursday, which I suppose was all a part of Pete Seeger's plan when he built the boat and carried groups by water - and by song - down the river for so many years.
Each trip on The Clearwater includes a few minutes of silence so everyone on board can hear and feel the quiet peace of the water and wind. That moment of quiet is then broken with song, and on Thursday's trip one of the crew led us all in singing "If I Had a Hammer," - a particularly sweet homage to Pete and a reminder of the good that can happen when we pick up our tools and get to work to make the world a better place.
Since Thursday's trip I have been spending time at home with a guitar, singing folk songs that I haven't sung in ages...most of which I learned before I was 10 years old and still love to sing. This has reminded me of the power of any folk song or folk tradition. It just plain feels good to sing songs you know people before you had been singing for generations - what a beautiful way to carry a story forward and find a common voice with those we are with today, as well as those who are now gone but not forgotten thanks to songs like these and the memories they carry.
"Michael Row Your Boat Ashore" came to mind as I sang last night (who doesn't love a song with your name it in?!), and after singing it a few times a new verse seemed to fall out of my mouth without much struggle or thought. I'd never expect this verse to stick in the greater lexicon or become an essential addition for others, but it showed me that time alone with a simple song can give us each a chance to personally connect with our history - our stories and our songs - in ways that feel right good for us.
Here is the new verse I added last night - just two short lines - which feel like a perfect snapshot of where my mind and life are at right now.
"Brotherhood in the name of love, Hallelujah,
Hand in hand with friends above, Hallelujah."