we’ve got to text ourselves back to the garden

Es­ti­mated reading time is 3 min­utes.

WOOD­STOCK MUSIC & ART FAIR. Just the name of an event that took place al­most fifty years ago still con­jures im­ages in most peo­ple’s minds—regardless of age and often po­lit­ical and philo­soph­ical disposition—of youth in­no­cence joy, of music color summer, of end­less hori­zons and pos­si­bil­i­ties, of three days of peace and music.

And of one-on-one, person-with-person in­ti­macy, of being here now, of in­ti­macy and grokking the moment—even if the mo­ment is filled with prob­lems and in­con­ve­niences and even ac­tual hardships.

And don’t forget the mud!

If such as event was held today, during the summer of 2018, there would be 500,000 people sit­ting on their asses, staring blankly into their smart­phones. They would be chat­ting with someone who wasn’t there, tex­ting them about how great it was to be there, not re­al­izing they re­ally weren’t there ei­ther.

And some clever song­writer could rewrite the lyrics to the song that com­mem­o­rated the event in 1969 and made pop­ular by Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young as a hit single in 1970.


Text Ourselves: photo of three infant children playing with smartphones.

Thank Wholly Grom­mett that these in­sid­ious de­vices didn’t exist sixty years ago or this could have been me with my brother and sister.

We are stardust, we are golden

The orig­inal music and lyrics for the song Wood­stock were written by Joni Mitchell. When Joni’s boyfriend Graham Nash ex­pressed in­terest in his band recording the song, they made some changes in the lyrics, mostly moving them around. Below find my shame­less rewrite/spoof of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young’s ver­sion of Joni Mitchell’s song.

I came upon a child of Jobs, he was walking along the road,
and I asked him, “Tell me, where are you going?” and this he told me.

Said, “I’m going on down to Yas­gur’s farm,
I’m going to join in a twit­tering band.
Got to get back to my phone and set my soul free.”

We are star­dust, we are golden.
We are bil­lion year old carbon.
And we’ve got to text our­selves back to our friends’ phones.

“Well then, can I walk be­side you?
I have come to lose the smog,
and I feel my­self a cog in some­thing turning.
And maybe it’s the time of year,
maybe it’s the time of man, and I don’t know who I am,

but life is for texting.”

We are star­dust, we are golden.
We are bil­lion year old carbon.
And we’ve got to text our­selves back to our friends’ phones.

By the time we got to Woodstock,
we were half a mil­lion strong.
And every­where were smart­phones and pri­vate conversation.
And I dreamed I saw the bomber jetplanes
leaving chem­trails in the sky,
killing bees and but­ter­flies across our nation.

We are star­dust, we are golden.
We are caught in Steve Jobs’ bargain.
And we’ve got to text our­selves back to our friends’ phones.

At the ad­vice of her man­age­ment, Joni Mitchell did not at­tend the Music & Art Fair in upper New York state. In­stead, she ap­peared on ap­pear on tele­vi­sion on The Dick Cavett Show, an ex­cel­lent venue that would pro­vide her songs and her singing much-needed ex­po­sure. She wrote the song in a hotel room in New York City, in­spired by watching tele­vi­sion and from what she had heard from Graham Nash. 

“The lyrics tell a story about a spir­i­tual journey and make promi­nent use of sa­cred im­agery, com­paring the fes­tival site with the Garden of Eden. The saga com­mences with the nar­ra­tor’s en­counter of a fellow trav­eler (‘Well, I came upon a child of God, he was walking along the road’) and con­cludes at their ul­ti­mate des­ti­na­tion. There are also ref­er­ences to the Vietnam War (‘bombers riding shotgun in the sky’) in com­bi­na­tion with the peaceful in­tent of the fes­tival goers (‘turning into but­ter­flies above our na­tion’).” (Wikipedia)


Text Ourselves: photo of a young couple making their own music at the Woodstock Music & Art Fair of 1969.

FEA­TURED IMAGE: The photo at the top of this page are of two uniden­ti­fied people making music at Yas­gur’s farm in Au­gust 1969. De­spite the set-up being the largest in his­tory at the time, some people were so far from the stage that they heard little of the con­cert. So they made do . . .



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