Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Roughly two years ago, on the United Nations' International Peace Day, Woodstock residents welcomed a small beacon of hope into the center of town in the form of a peace pole. The well-recognized symbol, an eight-foot structure on the Woodstock Village Green in our case, features the saying, "May Peace Prevail on Earth," in over 100 languages on each of the four sides. Many people turned up for the unveiling, proving how important the monument is to keeping the message of peace alive everywhere. Sometimes, just having a place to pray or to share a moment of silence to consider the goings-on of the world is a helpful way to relieve stress and get away from the tension present in the world. Woodstock is not the first—or the last—place to have a peace pole.
Monday, August 16, 2010
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Years ago, I was walking through the countryside as the trees’ long shadows became overwhelmed by dusk. I spied a young couple and their friend leaving an old country house and they were carrying chairs. Then, they brought out a card table, a pitcher of lemonade, and their instruments: two guitars and a flute. She wore a long summer dress that caught the breeze. The friends chatted in low tones, chuckling after a bird called out to them. I watched as they set up in the front yard with only yellow lamplight from the house to see by. I edged closer and listened to them play their music, wishing I lived there too. I stayed there a long time, listening. I am still wistful about that.
The ideals responsible for the 1969 concert’s success as a peaceful statement and joyful expression have their roots in the shadow of Overlook, a mountain sacred to the Iroquois, just west of the Hudson River in upstate New York. The spirit that transcends place but is present there in abundance is a touchstone for many of us and we know who we are—we are the Woodstock Nation.