What a Long, strange Trip It's Been…
Remember the 60s? Maybe you grew up or lived during those years. It was an exciting time. Many "baby boomers" chose to go down a different path than their parents or even their peers they protested the Vietnam War, started the environmental and back to the land movements, embraced voluntary simplicity, and promoted equality, freedoms and opportunities for people from all walks of life.
In 2006 the first Boomers turned 60. Not everyone has been a lifelong activist, of course. There were myriad jobs and sometimes multiple careers, family adventures and stresses, travel and relocation, and sometimes death and disability along the way. Yet a good percentage of Boomers continued to hold their 60s values close to their hearts, and despite personal setbacks and unpredictable changes and challenges--persevered in making pioneering efforts to protest injustices and promote simpler and more sustainable lifestyles among the American populace.
William L. Seavey was one such "boomer" who, at 60 (in early 2007), has a treasure trove of memories, insights and revelations from the early days to the present. In his generational memoir, Confessions from Generation Woodstock; he chronicles his first experiences coming of age, graduating from college and going to work in New York City, "accidentally" attending and photographing the first (and best) Woodstock Music Festival, "dropping out" from corporate life and moving to Eugene, Oregon (where he published countercultural journals including a Whole Earth Catalog-type volume to the area), living communally, and eventually "dropping back in" to the mainstream prior to marrying and having a son.
Following a wrenching divorce, Seavey returned to a large extent to his 60s roots, and eventually started a nationwide organization helping stressed out urbanites seeking simpler values to move to smaller towns and rural areas throughout the United States. For over 15 years the Greener Pastures Institute assisted thousands, though Seavey's own efforts to find an idyllic place to settle down was frequently thwarted--his attempt to build the first "strawbale" house (with the help of an architect who had helped "green!' the Clinton White House) on his five acres in Washington state was shut down by officials, and he lost nearly everything including, for a time, his deepest convictions.
But like the Phoenix rising from the ashes, Seavey was ultimately undeterred in pursuing a fulfilling and inspirational life and by the mid 90s he had broken ground on ANOTHER strawbale house (in a Baja, Mexico resort ), experimented enough with basic solar power (photovoltaics) to write an internet best selling primer on the subject, and after moving to the Central California Coast (a second time), embarked on "green energy" education projects (seminars and classes), specifically in the area of alternatives to our petroleum dependencies.
Confessions from Generation Woodstock won't bore you, and may even offer a few "aha!" moments. If you have lived anything close to the life Seavey has, you will recognize some of the landmarks along the way--the early years of questioning authority and establishing a direction in life; serious and not so serious relationships; marriage, divorce and possibly remarriage; work for corporations and small business; moving from the big city; seeing parents and other loved ones decline; and facing "semi retirement as a "seasoned" citizen. Through it all Seavey writes with sensitivity, candor, humor and ultimately resolve.
For more on the book, click here!