A Musical Interlude

The breezes at dawn have secrets to tell you…

The breezes at dawn have secrets to tell you…

As I explained in a previous post, etymologically, ‘weird’ means ‘fate’ and in the way I am speaking of it is also synonymous with the process of individuation; becoming one’s true and whole (unique) self. In this context, we might think of fate as a divine blueprint with which, to a certain extent, we can choose whether or not to align ourselves.

Last weekend Ian and I attended a tribute concert to Pete Seeger, which was also a fundraising concert for Project Watershed in Comox where we live part time. I was reminded that Pete Seeger, a social activist mostly in the forties, fifties and sixties, was blacklisted from performing on TV and radio programs in the U.S., and I learned that he then turned to entertaining children. I was amused to hear that some of the songs I knew off by heart were ones he sang to children, and were clearly subversive. I was a child when he made Little Boxes famous in 1963 (though he didn’t write it – a female activist named Malvina Reynolds did), and I seem to have received his message loud and clear.

Since the concert, that catchy little tune in particular has kept playing in my mind. I realize it is so fitting to what I have been writing about. Little Boxes was written about the new housing developments which were thrown up after the second world war. (As Ian puts it, we moved away from craftsmanship and individuality to efficient conformity and mass production.) But it also sums up a time (the fifties) of conformity (Pete himself learned what happened to those who didn’t conform in that era) and it also describes the kind of nightmarish reality which exists when conformity rules in any society and era.

I don’t wish to criticize anyone’s tastes, but it breaks my heart to witness all the forests in the Comox Valley that are being destroyed for “little box” housing developments (only the size of the houses has increased dramatically since the fifties and these are “big boxes” that all look just the same”) that are being built. The developments are often given names like Eagleview, or Creekside, etc., yet, there is no eagle in view because their trees and nests were destroyed, and creeks were covered for the houses and pavement. (I guess I get ranting privileges on here.)

You are probably familiar with the song. But if not, here are the lyrics of the first few verses and a link to Pete Seeger singing it:

Little boxes on the hillside,

Little boxes made of ticky tacky,

Little boxes on the hillside,

Little boxes all the same.

There’s a green one and a pink one

and a blue one and a yellow one,

and they’re all made out of ticky tacky

and they all look just the same.

And the people in the houses

all went to the university,

where they were put into boxes

and they came out all the same