The Bridge
(Text exerpt)
Picture yourself outdoors, far out in the country, among trees and fields. A river flows nearby. Above you is the night sky… or it’s daytime… summer. And you’re listening to powerfully sung words and beautifully played music. Everyone you see is generating peaceful and loving feelings… really being good to each other. And that ‘everyone’ is a half-million people.
Then, because this great collective of Humanity celebrating Being-alive naturally produces real survival needs — and in this case, desperate needs because the concert promoters hadn’t anticipated such a turn-out — a dangerous crisis lurks. Then, it rains. (Maybe we should’ve chanted, "Sun, shine! Sun, shine! Sun, shine!" instead of, "No rain!" But that’s beside the point.) Everything turns to mud. And part of what qualifies Woodstock as a mythic event is the response to this situation.
Local townspeople, and farmers in the area — who days earlier had not thought so highly of this invasion of ‘Hippies’ — saved the great weekend from ending up a total disaster. They donated food, water, sanitation facilities, whatever was necessary to ensure the well-being of the concert-goers.
Even the army — the United States Army — used helicopters, designed for warfare, to ferry in entertainers (who otherwise would never have been able to get to the grounds), and to evacuate those in need of immediate medical attention. That very institution which represented to many of us exactly what was most wrong with our country helped save us.
Joni Mitchell later put our collective experience into words.
And I dreamed I saw the bombers
Riding shotgun in the sky
And they were turning into butterflies
Above our nation.
Below, within the huge crowd, people were sharing and giving as one might only expect to read about in some utopian novel, or in some Biblical scene. You wouldn’t have believed it, except that you were experiencing it. People always found room for one more person around a campfire. A piece of bread could always be broken one more time. If one swallow of water or fruit juice was enough, people didn’t take two. In the beginning, I saw a man selling hard boiled eggs for an inflated price. (Hadn’t we all been taught to believe in ‘free enterprise?’) But in the end, everything was free. Everyone gave what they had to give. An epidemic of highly contagious Love spread through Woodstock like wildfire.
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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