Swimming to the other side

folk music

September 11, 2023

Greenwood Furnace Folk Gathering 2023 attendees

Folk singer Pat Humphries wrote a song called “Swimming to the Other Side” that has been covered by many other artists. Here’s a link to the lyrics: https://emmasrevolution.com/track/1288812/swimming-to-the-other-side in case you don’t know it. Two experiences this weekend reminded me of this song’s timeless and vital message.

The first was the Greenwood Furnace Folk Gathering held at nearby Greenwood Furnace State Park. Michelle and I enjoyed the workshops, conversations, and folk jams as we have for many years. I even played my first blues solo on the harmonica, thanks to the encouragement of master performer and master teacher, Richard Sleigh. The concert that evening under a well-aged tent in the middle of a heavy rainstorm showed just how much we depend on one another, for entertainment, fellowship, comfort, safety, and joy.

In humility I will listen
We’re all swimming to the other side.

The second experience was at the grand opening of a new community centre in downtown State College for the LGBTQ+ community. Michelle was one of two musicians to be invited to perform. These are especially difficult times for members of the LGBTQ+ community in the U.S., so it was gratifying to appreciate first-hand what the center’s opening means to this group of marginalized friends, family, and colleagues. As Humphrey’s song says:

Loving spirits will live together
We’re all swimming to the other side