About this Series: I live in Morristown, New Jersey. Many iconic, historic, cultural and revolutionary changes have somehow been associated with this town. This series highlights a few of them, connecting the dots between those events and major changes in your world…and in everyone’s day-to-day lives.
A few days ago I saw Arlo Guthrie do a wonderful performance at Morristown’s Performing Arts Center. What an amazing storyteller! Just like his dad.
Woody Guthrie (1912-1967) is considered by most to be the Father of American Folk Music, most famously for his This Land is Your Land, which Bruce Springsteen called the greatest song ever written about the USA. Bob Dylan idolized Woody, visiting him frequently on his deathbed.
This night, Arlo reminded the audience that he spent a lot of time in Morristown. Woody Guthrie was hospitalized here at the Greystone Psychiatric Hospital. Every Sunday for the five years Woody was here, Arlo and the family would take the train from New York to visit Woody. They’d all write new songs together, and sing the old ones.
But, paraphrasing Arlo from Alice’s Restaurant Masacree… (a must-listen every Thanksgiving!) …This is not a post about Arlo, or Woody, or even Morristown. It’s about seeing the world as one global village.
Arlo relayed that his mom once went to China, and was pissed when she returned. “They sang This Land is Your Land. That’s Woody’s and America’s song,” she said. Arlo didn’t know how to respond.
Until one day he realized… “From California to the New York Island… Nobody said you had to go the short way! If you go the long way, This land was made for you and me is about everybody’s land. It’s a song about inclusiveness.”
What we see depends on how we choose to see.
If we choose to see conflict and differences, that is what we will see. If we choose to see one global village with common challenges and common goals, that is what we will see.
A voice was chanting, As the fog was lifting,
This land was made for you and me.