Majesty: View Partially Obstructed
"Nice view. Pity about the smallpox."
Sue Lindsay!!!! Is that actually the first thing that went through your mind, standing there in that beautiful pre-sunrise moment at 4:45 a.m., flute fluttering in the cool sea breeze, the birds singing and you about to do a video shoot of heartfelt music for a campaign to aid the town's struggling businesses? Is that seriously what went through your mind?
Tell 'em, Marla: "Of course it was. The shock is that she didn't say it."
It was a wonderful experience to play up there on that hill, in the sunrise, yesterday. We were invited to provide 15 minutes of music (four songs) for an upcoming fundraiser for the Plymouth One Fund, founded to help Plymouth-area business struggling during pandemic closures. Most excellent. But... we also have George Floyd, and Black Lives Matter, and four hundred years of racial injustice. How to say one thing but not say the other?
Again with the time and the place thing.
For an Irish band, it's not hard to find songs about a people struggling under long-term, systematic oppression. The Lindsays sing about injustice all the time; finding the right song in our repertoire was fairly easy. North and South of the River; check. But we also wanted to acknowledge the love around us: a stunning sunrise in a historic seaside town. So we chose some beauty, because beauty helps whet our appetite for what is right. The Lonesome Boatman; check. So Do I; check.
And there we were, singing of beauty and hope on the auspicious occasion of the 400th anniversary of colonial Plymouth, where religious pilgrims and business opportunists arrived and made short work of the fine folks who lived here already. Exterminated them with utter disregard for their humanness because those savages did not think, speak, or act like us.
Here we go again.
Placing a stunning bronze statue of sachem Massassoit on the hill was a start, and it does make for soft moments of awe for thousands of visitors every year. And beauty feeds hope. But the work is long from over. When will it end? Will the work ever be finished? Will it always be like this?
I can't even.