(Editors note: this post comes a day late because we were all enjoying the simple pleasures of gathering with friends at Lodi without internet)
Let all things now living a song of Thanksgiving
If I haven’t sung that line a hundred times I’d be very surprised. When I was growing up we sang it in church many a Sunday. It comes paired with the Scottish tune Ash Grove. The Ash Grove in Southern California was a classic venue for our music. I’ve played Ash Grove as an old time instrumental many more times perhaps than I have sung it in church but I always connect the tune with the hymn which celebrates God’s gift of our wonderful planet.
All things now living are in trouble. Species have always been disappearing but perhaps they are dying more than ever these days. The human species has added a lot of carbon to the atmosphere since acquiring the gift of technology. Our planet is warming and it may be dying even for species like us.
Bluegrass musicians have not been ignorant of what is happening to the planet. Just listen to Ray Parks:
Listen my brother. This world’s gonna fall.
It’s hard to believe no one cares at all.
They just made the dollar any way that they can.
To hell with the people. To hell with the land
Can this whole world be saved?
Have we gone too far? Is it too late?
Have we reached the point of no return?
Lord what will it take? Will we ever learn?
Our cities are bigger than ever before
And there’s not enough air to go around anymore
And what are we doing to help ease the pain?
We’re building more cars and bigger airplanes
A sawmill stops burning and the smoke clears away
But the big trees keep falling day after day
Oh tell me my brother, why can’t they see?
They’re destroying the source of the air that we breathe
I don’t know what year Ray Parks wrote that song but it must have been around the time people like Rachel Carson were sounding the alarm that our beautiful treasure of a planet needed some love.
Sixty years later our planet needs love more than ever. Love your planet and Happy Earth Day!