By Gary Sohmers, 2017 copyright, All Rights Reserved
Chapter Four – Knock it All Down
We are merely humans intertwined in a puzzle or riddle, crafted by a comedian watching to see some hilarity ensue, by throwing a new unknown into the mix, a stranger. And the increasing prevalence of the beasties.
I remember Terra telling me that clouds seemed to make her feel secure. Any clouds, like a blanket. As well as how she often felt relieved by the rain as it comforted the misery she felt from the anger and fear around her. She had told me she identified these good and bad emotions, and her terminology for these auras are her “beasties”. They are as real to her as to me, and this common unique experience was what aligned us initially, and bonds us for life.
Terra prefers to be surrounded by nature, animals and art with music playing. If there is music playing, and especially outdoors, Terra is the happiest. The next song on the list is a tune I’d written long before I’d met Terra, about the power of Mother Nature to destroy, paralleled with a political protest message. Terra takes me by my arm, and then grabs Gra by his, and she glides us both across the stage as the music begins the reggae rockers riffs.
In coordinated unison we dance to the reggae groove of “Knock It All Down”. Dancing across the stage, each of us humorously pulls Terra one way, and the other doing the same pulling her another way. Terra laughs and leads us both her way towards the side of the stage where her easel stands at the ready for her next expression of art.
For this song I wrote, I invite our friend to sing. “Went down to the park, stayed until it’s dark, had a good time,” sings EarthaMon to the reggae groove as the audience dances in a sea of bobbing heads. “Shufflin’ with the band, wavin’ to the fans, wind starts blowin’, and Jah mon, she can knock it all down, knock it all down, go on.”
Now, here among the joy, beauty and splendor of the human spirit enraptured by music, hope, cheer, happiness and love, right here, right now, there appears to be a universal human communal movement—togetherness, peace and harmony. This sound and rhythm we are creating appears to be a vibration that can create positive energy. The movement of the bodies, the thousands of humans all breathing, circulating the air. We all appear to be swaying with the trees above.
Although in the groove, Terra looks slightly distracted by a small group of people pushing towards the front of the stage provoking agitation among the previously unified audience. This is supposed to be a good vibes event, now another disruption. And they are carrying protest signs. It appears that their motive is to convey their message to our audience, whether it is desired or not.
Now that I’m aware of it, it appears that two opposing groups are each trying to get to the front of the stage from opposite sides. Both groups seem to be out of the rhythm of the reggae groove, maneuvering among the others to make room for themselves in front, to the annoyance of many who had come early for a good space to enjoy the show. These two groups of people are definitely not our fans.
Terra seems even more perturbed now that she sees what is on the signs they are holding. One group appears to be very clean cut people, standing in a field in inappropriate attire trying to fit in, but with placards in their hands for evil things including, Capitalism is A Great-Ism; Money Talks, Everything Else Can Walk and political signs for Dick T. Raitor for Ruler of Earth. The other group is made up of what looks like anarchist punks with signs professing, End of the World As We Know It; Greed Causes Climate Destruction and Destroy the Planet to Stop Corporate Takeover.
Terra was creating art on her easel for the audience as part of our show, and to communicate our message, but these outsiders are attempting to influence in what appears to be a subversive manner. This is not their party and not their audience.
The music continues to groove solidly even as we survey the unusual activity up front. I signal to security to keep an eye on the opposing parties just in case. We have no fear, just apprehension followed by professional preparedness, to alleviate negative surprises.
Based on their signs and T-shirts, one group registers themselves as Righteous Citizens, claiming to be speaking for everyone yet are clearly not representing the will of the people. Using their signs to block people’s view of the stage, and dancing spasmodically like they own the place, they act as bullies, plain and simple. They appear to consider themselves superior to others, especially those who do not agree with them, and they are not being polite to those around them.
Gra joins us by Terra’s easels, maybe as a crew or a security component as his shirt implies, but his presence there seems to make Terra feel more secure. We are in go-with-the-flow mode, and the stranger was not the disruption that a bad element in the audience could be, so I nod to come out of the solos and start the next verse.
Timely enough, in the second verse, EarthaMon sings my song’s lyrics about the disparity among the political opinions of the day, the hate spread by politicians and the revolution called for by the radicals. “Hate mon, really deadly game, players are insane politicians,” to which both groups cheer, believing the other group is the evil one.
“But together, we can find a way, to see a brighter day in our future,” EarthaMon sings to the cheers of the rest of the audience.
“And Jah mon, she can knock it all down, knock it all down go on,” sings EarthaMon as encouraging hope to the crowd. The crowd reacts positively, singing along.
Again as rehearsed, Terra and I move towards the front of the stage next to EarthaMon, now supported by Gra, and join in singing, “Now I’m learning, yes indeed, to be patient, and believe … That a time may come some day my friend though we may never see it, with the grace of Jah the sun shines on and the tunes go ever playing.”
The band again slips into our lilting riff for more solos, this time beginning with a calliope-like recreation of that magical sound from my youth at the beach, enabling the whole crowd to begin moving as one again. Even the protestors seem caught in the musical spell. The winds begin to pick up momentum also, seemingly adding depth to the audience’s experience, causing the banners decorating the stage to blow as added choreography.
A strong gust almosts lifts Terra, to her surprised amusement, with our stage crew now including our new companion Gra, preparing to batten down the stage if needed. We dance with EarthaMon, all the while looking concerned about the two opposing groups aggregated in front of the stage. The audience surrounds, subdues and absorbs the boisterous activities of both groups at the front of the stage, dividing the opposing forces.
Towards the end of the instrumental interlude, the opposing group—mostly dressed in the style of old school 20th century anarchic punks—have bypassed around the fans, moving their aggregation to the front edge of the stage. They are fist pumping, sign waving and advocating their message of impending doom and death of humanity and the planet. This cause is dear to our music, hearts and minds, but we approach the solution with hope and kindness, instead of anarchy and violence.
EarthaMon moves towards the microphone, inciting the punks to jump madly about in a frenetic display of false appreciation. Beginning the final verse, which the audience knows is about the group currently occupying control of the front of the stage.
Singing “Punk mon, really state of mind, players want some kinda revolution,” to which they feel exonerated, like they belong in charge. But the verse concludes with, “Together, we can find a better way, to see a brighter day in our future.” EarthaMon’s chant in the rhythmic candor of the song brings the rest of the audience to a rousing response, that even included the punks.
We all join EarthaMon in singing the chorus, “And Jah mon, she can knock it all down, knock it all down go on, Jah mon, she can knock it all down, knock it all down go on.”
The audience is now joining in to sing the chorus. As the music builds, the sound of thousands of voices singing from their hearts and minds sends a huge energy force upwards. The wind gets stronger as the chorus builds, and it almost appears that the sound system stacks could blow over, if the stage hands were not here to brace them. Terra smiles broadly as the strong wind almost lifts her from the stage again.
As the band concludes the song, and as if on Terra’s cue, the breeze subsides. The roar of the audience’s approval takes its place as an energy force.
“Knock it all down,” the message of my song, exemplifies that no matter how evolved we humans become, we can easily be destroyed by the nature that surrounds us.
As the audience cheers, EarthaMon waves and heads to the side of the stage where Terra’s easel stands, with a picture she had drawn of the planet Earth, now with new lettering added.