Moment of Being

Some moments in life are so simultaneously filled with the best and worst of life one, apparently, just has to blog about it.

Yesterday morning I was driving around campus, trying to find the ever-elusive mid-day parking space. I was listening to my new RCA Lyra (a less expensive, not-white iPod), having just uploaded a variety of tunes meant to gently wake me to the day’s labor. I included The Beatles’ “Here Comes the Sun” and “Across the Universe,” “Frank Mills,” “Aquarius,” and “Let the Sunshine In” from Hair, and John Lennon’s “Imagine,” among others.

So, I’m pulling into a lucky space not too terribly far from my office as “Imagine” is concluding and I’m thinking about how I’d love to share the song with so many people, but the “no religion too” would make them call it a radical Commie song still (presuming they listened to the lyrics, of course), and feeling upset that the Right has so shifted discourse in this country that even mild peacenik anthems are linked to terrorism and the destruction of all morality. And then the opening words of “Let the Sunshine In” add fodder to my mood…

We starve-look
At one another
Short of breath
Walking proudly in our winter coats
Wearing smells from laboratories
Facing a dying nation
Of moving paper fantasy
Listening for the new told lies
With supreme visions of lonely tunes

…and I’m getting out of my car walking to the beat and trying, through outdated rock musical soulfood by well-meaning white boys, to purge the thought that that Dick Cheney and those who share his perspective and any fragment of his power are all shooting us collectively in the face and how can you keep the birdshot out of your heart…

...when what should pass me on the sidewalk but a line of ROTC college students in full fatigues, carrying (fake?) rifles and marching, single-file, staunchly forward and out of time to my music.

I shook my head, disbelieving this could be happening right after John Lennon and during the climactic "Let the sunshine, Let the sunshine in, the suuuuuuuuunshine iiiiiiiiiiiiin" ending of the song...

But it did happen, and at least I had the protection of Ragni and Rado and thoughts of my pacifist and otherwise radical friends and family to sustain me: especially Sunfrog/Anu and his tireless activism and Kate Aulbach who saw the 1979 film version of Hair with me and we lived in the soundtrack for months, wishing we were hippies rather than stuck in the late 1970s—where we did have Rocky Horror but not a lot else—except things did get so much worse—and how could we have known?


Anonymous said...

let the sunshine in.


Kate said...

During the early seventies, Garry Trudeau of Doonesbury had a cartoon where B.D. is in Viet Nam with a buddy in a rice field when he looks up and says, "Look is there anything more beautiful than a phantom jet in flight?" then a butterfly comes along and lands on his rifle. His buddy looks at him and says, "Bravo for life's little ironies."
Your experience also reminds me of a twenty something waiter trying to tell me that Lennon's gorgeous wish is about communism. It was all I could do to not go ballistic on him. Bravo.

Anonymous said...

That's a pretty powerful moment, Elyce. It's tough being elucidated, isn't it? I think Kate's comment is a brilliant observation, too.

I remember at some earlier point in my life, high school and college, reaching the conclusion that nations and peoples living peaceably together makes such good sense and that accomplishing it should be so easy. So why not do it? True, it's a grossly and simplistic bit of idealism. But I just don't get it, why fight?

Then again, some situations do seem to call for some sort of police intervention. The US ignored nations with far worse human rights abuses than Iraq (and far worse natural resources) in favor of ousting a dictator under the guise of 9/11 and al Qaeda. But the United Nations does send "peacekeepers" to places that desperately need some sort of order.

It seems the bad guys force a need for policing, but then the police become corrupt and all hell breaks loose.