Last night, I dreamed I met Joan Baez.
I was standing just outside of her dressing room, a small trailer with an open window (as in a food truck) on one side, and the door on the other. With tears in my eyes, I stood in the doorway and told Joan Baez that I’d been a fan since I was 12 (that’s not really true; I was about 15). Then I told her my current age, and she said, “Well, that says a lot.” (She’s older than me, actually, but I refrained from telling her so.)
Even though a throng of fans was crowded around the open window, she turned away from them to have a private chat with me in the doorway. Still, I had the awkward feeling that I couldn’t quite express myself to her. I told her I loved how she sang a certain song (one of her earlier folk songs) but in my dream I told myself that I really loved another one better, and if only I could remember its name I’d tell her I loved that one, too. I felt like I was acting like a typical gushing fan, the last thing I wanted her to think of me, and that maybe she was just humoring me.
But then she handed me something — a gift of some kind — and as I walked away, I said to someone, “Now I can send her a thank you card!”
So here it is. Thank you, Joan, for inspiring me as a young woman to buy a guitar, to learn your songs, to play along with your records, to try and hit your high notes (both musically and politically). Thank you for introducing me to pacifism and protest marches. And thank you for that gift, whatever it was, in my dream.
Maybe I dreamed about you last night because this weekend is the one-year anniversary of the racist Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville — the one that resulted in the murder of Heather Heyer, a believer in social justice who was there protesting the rally.
So here’s another thank you — this one is for Heather Heyer.
Thank you, Heather, for helping to keep the spirit of protest alive, and for standing up against racism and injustice. And thank you for your last post on Facebook, which was: “If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.”
And, while I’m at it, thank you to the NFL players who’ve been taking a knee to protest racism and injustice. Shame on you-know-who for criticizing their peaceful form of free speech.
Unbelievably, another white supremacist Unite the Right rally is scheduled to take place in Charlottesville this weekend. What a slap in the face to all that’s decent in the world.
I think I’ll spend the rest of today practicing my guitar (until my fingers get sore, anyway) while thinking about peace, justice, love, and protests. Maybe a new song, or at least another dream, will come of it.