One of the top 3 (in my opinion) iconic statement songs of the ‘60s is Joni Mtchell’s ‘Woodstock’. Most people know the version by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, and according to Wikipedia, it was written based upon accounts of the concert from her then-boyfriend Graham Nash. Like most of you, I have heard the song dozens of times, maybe hundreds over the past 40+(yes 40+)years. But it was only recently that I actual listened and got the message. (We were all taught in grade school the difference between hearing and listening.) It may have been in the way that Nash described the events of those three days, or maybe from what Joni saw on TV, or maybe just the strong desire at the time by that generation of baby boomers for peace, or all of the above; but apparently Joni was equating the spirit of Woodstock to the paradise of Eden before mankind screwed it up. (Was I the last person on earth to get that?)
In any case, the lyrics are below along with a link to the Joni Mitchell video – which is really is quite haunting. It’s a song about each of us and our journey in figuring out who we are and what we are doing here, and most importantly, how do we ‘get back to the garden’? Brilliant. There are just some lines that smack you in the head once you actually listen (my thoughts in parenthesis):
Joni Mitchell Singing Woodstock (pardon the commercial you may see)
I came upon a child of God (That is how I would love to be remembered- as a child of God–nothing more.)
He was walking along the road (The road of life I would think)
And I asked him, “Where are you going?” (That’s scriptural: John 13:36)
And this he told me…
I’m going on down to Yasgur’s Farm, (Farm / Garden – close enough)
I’m gonna join in a rock and roll band. (All old rockers go to heaven)
I’m gonna camp out on the land
I’m gonna get my soul free. (Free from whatever is keeping us from seeking God)
We are stardust. (…all come from dust, and to dust all return – Ecc 3:20)
We are golden. (We are golden, we are precious, each of us, to God.)
And we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden. (We sure do – can you dig it?!)
Then can I walk beside you? (Sounds like the road to Emmaus – Luke 24:13-35)
I have come here to lose the smog, (What is more unlikely to be Eden?)
And I feel to be a cog in something turning. (She’s feeling the spirit.)
Well maybe it is just the time of year, (August-Summer – time off – freedom)
Or maybe it’s the time of man. (Son of Man more likely)
I don’t know who I am,
But you know life is for learning. (and finding The Way)
We are stardust.
We are golden.
And we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden. (Because we are lost and don’t belong where we are now)
By the time we got to Woodstock,
We were half a million strong
And Everywhere there was song and celebration. (Like Eden was meant to be – paradise – where the only ‘drug’ we need is the Holy Spirit.)
And I dreamed I saw the bombers
Riding shotgun in the sky,
And they were turning into butterflies
Above our nation. (The power of the Holy Spirit does that to people: bombers to butterflies)
We are stardust.
Billion year old carbon. (God created chemistry – all life is carbon based)
We are golden.
Caught in the devil’s bargain (This is the clincher. The scene of Satan’s first and greatest lie was in the garden.)
And we’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden. (Back to where we belong – back to God’s house.)
Knowing that not everything was perfect at Woodstock, Joni’s idyllic and hopeful song is probably as appropriate a tribute to its memory as any – when for three days (yes 3 days – does that also sound familiar?) in August of 1969, half a million strong came as close to the spirit of the garden as has ever been achieved since creation……very cool.