Before time was only money
And machines made man a slave,
Was the world all milk and honey
BEFORE ALL THE STEETS WERE PAVED?

Hank's Notes

Shaidri brought me this wonderful Peter Rowan song a couple of years ago. I took to it right away. Before the Streets Were Paved, a conversation between a youngster and a grandfather, takes us directly into the heart and nexus of family, culture, past, and future.

I live in the mountains a few miles outside of a small northeastern California town. A mile and a quarter of dirt road leads to my house, and nobody would call it "a driveway". Mind you, I am not opposed to better roads, but so many of us now have never walked on dirt, have never seen a night sky filled with stars.

As a species we crash heedlessly into a future we refuse to anticipate clearly, leaving behind a past we fail to value. Sure, there are those among us who see some unfortunate and perhaps irreversible consequences to the pathways down which we allows ourselves to be led, as there are those among us who do greatly value the more cohesive aspects our history. We laud technology and religiously keep faith that it will save us from ourselves. Yet in the midst of our amazing material wealth we have people enough without homes to constitute whole cities, while throughout the US much housing remains vacant. We blame the homeless for their plight, failing to see their situation as a symptom of the failure of our economic systems as presently configured. We proclaim "family values" as if it were something to pick up at a discount center.

Peter Rowan has written many great songs, and I have sung several of them. Right now, this is my favorite Peter Rowan song, and I find Shaidri's delivery wonderfully compelling.

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rev. 7/13/10