It has been 60 years since  Pete Seeger first recorded Turn! Turn! Turn!. To appreciate my song, you have to know about that one. Here's a video of Judy Collins and Pete Seeger singing it on Pete's TV show in the 1960s.

Judy did the most beautiful cover ever, in my opinion, but this was particularly special. Judy was Pete's guest on TV. She asked him to sing along on Turn Turn Turn. The whole thing seems unrehearsed. As Judy tuned up, Pete was doodling on his 12-string. Judy flubs the lyric a bit. They carry on like nothing happened. Pete is ad-libbing a harmony and second guitar. The whole thing is just wonderful. It has a guileless quality that lets the light of the tune shine through. That glow matches my memory of how the song first struck me.

The civil rights movement of the 1950's and 60's partially succeeded in it's aims. Black Americans won the right to equal protection under the law and there was a broad change of heart regarding racism. Unfortunately this sea change didn't go as deep as many of us had hoped. The scourge of racism survived in smoldering pockets just waiting to be fanned into flame. Nonetheless, Jim Crow was dismantled and that was progress.

The peace movement didn't fare as well. Protests in the US and elsewhere turned the tide of public opinion against the Vietnam War. But that war ended in terror and blood, and set the stage for Pol Pot and a host of other disastrous outcomes. If those events had lead to a general retreat from war as an instrument of national policy throughout the world, then you might have been able to argue that the hideous nature of the killing fields could have been a painful but necessary price to pay for turning the world away from war, but that's not what happened. War continues unabated, as desperate and cruel as ever.

Looking at the stubborn survival of war in the 21st century could cause an old 1960s hippie (well, proto-hippie. I was 12 in 1968) to despair. But I have recently lost the luxury of despair. What to do then?

The best answer I've found is to listen to the old tune. The song says there are times and seasons for everything. It doesn't say there will never be war. It says there is a time for war and for peace. There's hope that balance might reassert itself. And hope is the cure for despair.

To everything ... there is a season
To everything ... there is a season
and a time ...

There are streaming clouds of bits, and ad impressions
an app for this or that obsession
There's screaming in your face TV
loudly drowning out the voice of reason
There's red flags waving to catch the eyes
of mad bull masses stoked with fear and anger
There's ancient hatred coal dug up
set to flame to fire desires for power

The man said there was nothing new

There's wireless hot locations
social nets, mobile text and idle chatter
There's people struggling to hang on
to breath and heartbeat strong enough to matter
There are those who turn to god for deadly answers
mocking their religions
There's bloody retribution laid
upon the suffering heads of bitter children

Just wait till *they* grow up

But you know ...
To everything ... there is a season
To everything ... there is a season
A time of war, a time of peace
Pete Seeger said it wasn't too late
(I swear it's not too late)
I sure hope he was right.
A time of peace (I swear it's not too late)
A time of peace (Not too late)

Download Turn Again.mp3