Hi Old Hippie,
Greetings from the frozen North.
I went to Woodstock as one of those propitious accidents. Came in with a friend as a Vietnam Vet biker and left as a flower child. Bought some tickets from a local music store in Connecticut as
access to a 'party and chicks'. Got there just as the fence was going down and someone (Joan Baez?) was singing - acapella and beautiful.
I became a biker after my military time, just as a search for freedom, experience and (again) sex. Didn't much happen - at least the sex part - but it was an identity and I needed one. Woodstock showed me that it wasn't the right one for me. Mostly I wandered and watched. The music was good, didn't do much drugs other than pot, and the sense of happiness, co-operation and community was overwhelmingly positive. I ended up near the medical tent and, one time, they needed a
"big guy" to help out with someone who was trippin poorly. The macho side of me volunteered and I became fascinated with the gentleness, guidance, insight and assistance the other volunteers provided those in need. That was it for me. I stayed for 3 days after, helping to clean up and just try to adjust to this new center in my soul. Over the next year, sold the bike, worked as a bartender in a welfare-rock bar, volunteered in innumerable street clinics, lived in communal settings, worked
in co-ops and worked hard to stop the war. Eventually (9 yrs) ended up with a degree or 2 from a small college in Oregon where the GI Bill ran out. Worked with detox & the mentally ill, learned Aikido, and lived in a little cabin in the mts. panning gold for a living. The bartending and Aikido
were the best training for Counseling - college was OK but not very real-world. Eventually ended up in Alaska 10 years ago - mid life crisis, needed something adventurous, got stuck here and don't expect to leave. Work now running a small (very) non-profit, am still lost as a captitalist and have no financial future, work with emerging cultures that are lost and ill equipped to deal with the
bureaucratic monolith, have a fine wife who was never a hippie in fact but would have been an Ace if she was.
Old Hippie, I do understand something about being "lost in Mississippi". Its been the same for me everywhere and I've lived most of everywhere. "We" have had significant effect on the national scene (civil rights, gay rights, handicapped, minorities etc) but it is very hard to find individual, personal
relationships that fit our orientation. As a culture, we are still too hung up and too unwilling (scared) to pay the price of being openly different - the closet is very crowded. The pressure to fit in is enormous, no matter how unsatisfying actuality may be. But you are still a hippie, as am I - a little long in the tooth perhaps and a little less willing to fight every battle - and certainly a little disappointed that the cute, hard bodies call me sir. The point is, we were right, we are right - the
sense of that is too powerful to ignore. So, we influence the world one person at a time - just like
before. Maybe you just ended up where you were needed, that's all. And you chose to stay, remember?
So, Peace and Love Brother (my assumption). Keep on truckin' If you end up in Alaska, there's a warm place to stay to get oriented. It's tough country but so, obviously, are we.