Rivers and Canyons, Birds of the Air

westforkOn Friday night we will gather to celebrate the winter solstice. It’s the Seed’s way of bringing our diverse array of family traditions together to honor the season. The winter solstice has, for many years, been a sacred time for me personally. It’s the shortest day of the year, the one with the least amount of external light and the most darkness. The sun rises later and sets earlier than any other day of the year. It’s a time when we each have an opportunity to be present more fully to our own inner light. In reaching through darkness on the shortest day, we have a chance to strengthen our ability to see the luminosity around us with greater clarity. It also helps us practice sharing our light when others experience darkness.

In the mid 80s there was a huge famine in Africa. A group of musicians got together and recorded a song called “We Are the World.” Written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie, it helped raise millions for hunger relief. In addition to raising millions, it raised awareness around the globe that we could do something in one place to help out in another. In the spring of 1985, we made books to sell, held bake sales, and even created bumper stickers to generate funds for the people starving in Africa. Somewhere in the midst of all that activity, a song came to me, “Celebrate Life on Planet Earth.”

Songwriting hasn’t been a common practice over the years. A few have popped up here and there, often inspired by the words of my own children. One of my favorite early songs, “People and Fishes,” was inspired by my daughter Sarah when she was little. It was about differences in the way people, dolphins, whales and fishes breathe. “Celebrate Life” wrote itself. I just showed up with my guitar one day and it was there.

Over the years the song has been a part of numerous events at the Seed. We’ve sung it at Monday meetings, at our Thanksgiving feast and even at the end of other solstice performances. In many ways it’s come to symbolize what the school is all about. As we prepare for our solstice celebration with this song as its theme, what comes to me is how the Seed is about community and a group effort. It’s not about one person or one song, it’s about a collective vision of what one small school can do to make a difference. I know that all of you have certainly made a difference in my life. In honor of the Seed and the season, I give you the words to “Celebrate Life on Planet Earth.”

Celebrate Life On Planet Earth

Rivers and canyons,
birds of the air
Forests and mountains,
plants everywhere
Deserts and oceans,
wide open space
These make our Earth a special place

Celebrate life on Planet Earth
This is the home of our human birth
Celebrate love on Planet Earth
Live your life for all it’s worth

People together, people alone
Babies and children, adults who are grown
Some without food and some who can share
Each with a heart that needs love and care

Celebrate life on Planet Earth
This is the home of our human birth
Celebrate love on Planet Earth
Live your life for all it’s worth

Now is the time we all have to give
Open our hearts so the Earth can live
To all living creatures under the sun
We give our lives so we can be one

Celebrate life on Planet Earth
This is the home of our human birth
Celebrate love on Planet Earth
Live your life for all it’s worth

8 thoughts on “Rivers and Canyons, Birds of the Air

  1. Celebrate Life has been in my head all week long. I also overheard a Seed student singing the song in the bathroom today. I don’t know if I will be able to sing this song without tearing up at every verse at the Solstice, but I’ll try my best singing:) Thank you for bringing life and breath to these words and melody.

  2. My family is starting to sing this song too because I’ve been singing it while making dinner, while folding laundry…you get the idea. It’s very catchy and has such a beautiful message.

  3. I am thankful to be part of a new generation at the Seed to learn this song. So many from our class are found singing the tune and Georgi and Jaxen get into it at home as well. I am also glad we are using this song for our program because it is the perfect way to learn it!

  4. Beautiful vision and words! Thank you for offering this song. Our family feels lucky to be part of the school & community you’ve created.
    Thank you Mary, you are an amazing lady.

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