"I'm going down to Yasgur's Farm
Gonna join in a rock 'n' roll band
Got to get back to the land
Set my soul free"
Woodstock - Joni Mitchell
Man had just landed on the moon in July and the first point of ARPANET (yep, when the Internet was just an embryo) was due to be installed in September on a computer at UCLA. In between these historic events, Woodstock claimed August as its own. For three days, we forgot all that had ever passed and all that was yet to come.
My train rolled into Scranton, PA early Friday morning. The plan was to hitch a ride for the last 50 or 60 miles. Just when I thought I would have to walk backward the full distance, an old Ford Fairlane pulled onto the berm in front of me. Four girls picked up a fellow rock & roller, and I settled comfortably between two in the back seat.
We came to listen, to celebrate, and to be with kids like us if only for a little while. Secrets and dreams were traded. Whispers and glances defined our humanity. And in the wake rose rare kinships to each other and our music. An inherent energy within all of us banded as one and rumbled across the field with the low drone of anticipation.
Richie Havens took the stage and so it began. Endless enduring performances followed; Joplin, Santana, Sebastian, Jefferson Airplane, CCR, The Band, CSN&Y, Hendrix. The music barely stopped during the next 66 hours.
Rains came and went then came again, occasionally soaking the venue though our spirit remained dedicated to the moment. Unity and peace spread farther and faster than nature’s rain. At times, there was no room to move and other times we were running and sliding downhill in troughs of mud. I walked and talked when I could; sat and watched when I couldn’t. And in the waters of a pond beyond the stage I found salvation in the naked desires of three angels. A number of times.
And just like that, Hendrix played his unique version of the Star Spangled Banner and Woodstock ended. We all left feeling something was lost and knowing something much more had been found.
February 12, 2023 | The Hollow Man Series, International Espionage