Mary Travers has died. With her death, America has lost a national treasure and the world is a little poorer. Her long career as one third of Peter, Paul & Mary and as an activist for human rights and general goodness speaks volumes of her value to the world. I can’t think of anything to write about her that is an appropriate tribute to her life. I think I’ll just end this brief piece with a quote from Walt Whitman that embodies her life. She was in fact one of the few that actually lived up to Whitman’s ideal.
“This is what you shall do: Love the earth and sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to every one that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown or to any man or number of men, go freely with powerful uneducated persons and with the young and with the mothers of families, read these leaves in the open air every season of every year of your life, re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul; and your very flesh shall be a great poem …”