Last night was the last night of a very interesting and dynamic conference I attended and assisted with, Journey Conferences. Speakers Robert Moore, Muriel McMahon, John Martin and Benig Mauger among others thrilled and killed with their wisdom, experience, humanness and timely work; and the community was fascinating and rich.
A new friend I met there, Chris Moors, played music through the various gathering times, all of it original. Last night when everyone was tired and things were winding down, I asked if he would play some of his piano tunes, knowing from conversation that he had some that he preferred to present on piano, but the piano was in another room from the receptions and gatherings where he played. He agreed, and pulled out his book volumes of songs he has written, thumbing through them to find tunes to play. He ran into one that he thought I might be interested in. From an earlier conversation he knew that I had grown up with Buckminster Fuller who was a friend of my father’s, who had been a mentor for me.
Chris had written a song about Buckminster Fuller. I cried as I heard it because I could almost see Bucky’s expression as if he were right there hearing it – glad, and sad. The song seemed to voice a scary and curious prophecy. Its chorus includes the words, “He could have saved the world.”
The last time I talked to Bucky was at a restaurant in Santa Monica, California. I sat directly across from him at a long table. He was distracted and seemed upset. I asked him if he was alright. He told me, “I don’t know if we’re going to make it.” I will never forget the look of worry in his eyes. As I asked what he meant, he explained that he was talking about we humans as a species. We weren’t collectively making the right decisions or going in a direction that would preserve human life on this planet. I was looking into his worrying eyes, me a 20-something-year-old peering into the mind of the man who had been my teacher/philosopher/mentor since an early age. He didn’t know if we were going to make it. That night surely set my course in life. I could not help taking in his concern.
Soon after, Bucky died. Life as I witnessed it moved on toward modernity like a freight train. I tried to figure out how to live with what I knew and continued to observe. I heard voices crying in the wilderness and tuned in to as many as I could – Thomas Berry, Brian Swimme, Daniel Martin and others – choosing my steps forward with all of this in mind. I have become a voice literally crying in wilderness.
When I heard this song last night, I felt connection, not that I haven’t felt it before, but this was profound. Bucky is so loved, and IS heard. The song’s lyrics shattered my heart with their clarity, simplicity, profundity and beauty, along with the love and sincerity of its composer. I felt Bucky’s spirit like a shining ghost sitting right there with us, and it seemed like I was feeling his joy at hearing the song.
I was, however, a little bit concerned because the song felt like a prophecy. “He could have (my emphases) saved the world,” the chorus states. Bucky saw clearly where we were headed. We are, as a species, are like the captains of the Titanic, considering whether to steer the ship away from the iceberg that will sink us, or not. Will we do it?