You are invited to send in stories of ways that you have used songs.
"The Chicken Song" on the newest recording, Pocketful of Wonder, describes ways that children at Red Gate Farm have found to pick up chickens. As the song says, "They are soft to hug."
Three and a half year-old Jada Leidy has discovered a different signal to use when she is asking a chicken — Can I pick you up? She says, "I stomp my foot, and the chicken flattens." Jada is the grandniece of Sandy and Russ Thomas of Greenfield, MA, who sent in this photo.
Six-year-old Lauren Phillips-Jackson of Amherst, Massachusetts has been particularly interested in the song, "Walls and Bridges." So much so that she has played the song for her friends. The chorus says:
Why do we make walls? These walls divide us.
Why do we make walls? These walls just hide us.
Why do we make a fist? We could reach out our hands.
I want to make a start building a bridge from heart to heart,
building a bridge from heart to heart.
Lauren's mother Lynn Phillips says that Lauren explains to her friends, "This isn't about a real wall." She asks her friends to hold hands together as they hear the song.
Herbalist Susun Weed tells about climbing on a mountain with a group of apprenctices when an unexpected rainstorm hit. As they were momentarily trapped, they kept singing, "My Roots Go Down" to keep their spirits up.
"Colors of Earth" is used by second grade teacher Barbara Rothenberg. She writes, "This song is a great tool to teach the concept of metaphor. My students explore which colors in nature describe their own physical characteristics. We focus on the common frame of reference we all share, the universal paintbrush.
By celebrating the beauty of the earth, we also celebrate the beauty of each human being. We extend the comparison beyond eyes and skin color to hair, teeth, and lips. Their comparisons range from oyster shells, strawberries, seal skin, and lily pads."
Sarah has created portraits in music of people as they make an important choice to transform adversity. For example, she writes about her friend in New England, Juanita Nelson, who sat down in the white cars of a railroad train in 1939. When Juanita was sixteen, she was forced, as an African American, to sit in the back car with ripped up seats. In the chorus of the song, Sarah describes Juanita as saying:
Whatever age I be, I will follow what's true for me.
The world can't change me. The truth inside has claimed me.
I must do what I feel is true.
"Ibrahim" was inspired when Mohammed Sawalha, founder of an NGO called the Palestinian House of Friendship, visited Traprock Peace Center in Deerfield, MA. After his public talk, he told a small circle a very personal story and afterward Sarah promised to create a song about it. Sawalha said a group of children in Nablis honored the memory of a schoolmate killed by random soldiers' gunfire in a crowd without fostering revenge. They used what he had been teaching them and made a nonviolent response.
Sarah looks for the nugget of the peace discovery in the actions of the person she is portraying. With Cindy Sheehan transforming grief, here is the kernal that she found:
You can go either way.
You can hide it deep inside you and let it burn you to the core.
Or you can open yourself wider than you ever have before.
Sarah has recorded herself over a hundred of the songs she's written. Her six recordings include "Green Flame," "Heart of the World," "Two Hands Hold the Earth," "The Wind is Telling Secrets," and "Magical Earth." Other performers have recorded her songs—Gordon Bok sings "That Quiet Place," Two of a Kind sings "Walls and Bridges" and "Talk It Out," and Jay Mankita sings her story of children preventing a rainforest tree being cut down, called "Mahogany Tree."
Sarah provides concerts, workshops, and recordings on the timely theme of peace discoveries and everyday bravery. In workshops she encourages people to explore how they approach adversity and identify their own peace discoveries.
She is collecting stories to be made into song and invites people to send song ideas to her at firstname.lastname@example.org.