“Insights from 1969: Joni Mitchell’s Woodstock” by Paulette – 5.29.21

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Entry Submitted by Paulette at 11:23 AM EDT on May 29, 2021

The famous Woodstock Music and Arts Festival took place in August 1969 on the weekend when I first arrived in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The streets near Harvard University and MIT were strangely empty of students, and when I asked why, I was told, “Everyone has gone to Woodstock.”

Yesterday, walking among the flowers and flags lovingly placed for Memorial Day, I noticed a gravestone with lyrics from Joni Mitchell’s song and felt chills of resonance.

With the intensity of our 2021 perspective, the words now ring with fresh insights:

Woodstock

by Joni Mitchell

I came upon a child of God
He was walking along the road
And I asked him where are you going
And this he told me
I’m going on down to Yasgur’s farm *
I’m going to join in a rock ‘n’ roll band
I’m going to camp out on the land
I’m going to try an’ get my soul free

We are stardust
We are golden
And we’ve got to get ourselves
Back to the garden

Then can I walk beside you
I have come here to lose the smog
And I feel to be a cog in something turning
Well maybe it is just the time of year
Or maybe it’s the time of man
I don’t know who I am
But you know life is for learning

We are stardust
We are golden
And we’ve got to get ourselves
Back to the garden

By the time we got to Woodstock
We were half a million strong
And everywhere there was song and celebration
And I dreamed I saw the bombers
Riding shotgun in the sky
And they were turning into butterflies
Above our nation

We are stardust
Billion year old carbon
We are golden
Caught in the devil’s bargain
And we’ve got to get ourselves
back to the garden

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