My Daughter Asleep

Carrying a child,
I carry a bundle of sleeping
future appearances.
I carry my daughter
adrift on my shoulder,
dreaming her slender dreams
and I carry her beneath the window,
watching her moon lit palm open and close
like a tiny folded map,
each line a path that leads where I can’t go,
so that I read her palm not knowing what I read
walk with her in moon light on the landing,
not knowing with whom I walk,
making invisible prayers to go on with her where
I can’t go,
conversing with so many unknowns that must know her more
intimately than I do.

And so to these unspoken shadows and this broad night
I make a quiet request to the great parental darkness
to hold her when I cannot, to comfort her when I am gone,
to help her learn to love the unknown for itself,
to take it gladly like a lantern for the way before her,
to help her see where ordinary light will not help her,
where happiness has fled, where faith will not reach.

My prayer tonight for the great and hidden symmetries of life
to reward this faith I have and twin her passages of loneliness with friendship,
her exiles with home coming, her first awkward steps with promised onward leaps.

May she find in all this, day or night, the beautiful centrality of pure opposites,
may she discover before she grows old, not to choose so easily between past and present,
may she find in one or the other her gifts acknowledged.

And so as I helped to name her, I help to name these powers,
I bring to life what is needed, I invoke the help she’ll want
following those moonlit lines into a future uncradled by me but parented by all I call.

As she grows away from me, may these life lines grow with her, keep her safe,
with my open palm whose lines have run before her to make a safer way,
I hold her smooth cheek and bless her this night into all these other unknown
nights to come.

-David Whyte

I have posted this poem before… and I’m sure I will again. We dropped Izze off at cam[ but before we did we stopped by the museum at Bethel, N.Y.

Izze and Vanessa look at the Woodstock signboard

Izze and Vanessa look at the Woodstock signboard

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

‘You might find this interesting,’ I say. In my mind, ‘Perhaps not.’ We walk through the gates and buy tickets.

Wasn't that a time?

Wasn't that a time?

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

The Woodstock memory is so interesting to me almost fifty years down the road… in many ways like a dream! The kids don’t seem to see kids, just strange people from another time.

a girl surrounded by another world...

a girl surrounded by another world...

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

We walk about… surrounded by the past.

Through a glass darkly

Through a glass darkly

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

She marks time, diligently waiting for the Woodstock experience to fade into arrival at camp.

What was it all about anyway?

What was it all about anyway?

Foto by Jorma Kaukonen

And then it was time to drop her for… for the next month. All this and she turned 12 today.

And then I was home…

Meanwhile, back at the Ranch...

Meanwhile, back at the Ranch...

Drone shot by Jorma Kaukonen

I miss that girl…


  1. Comment made on July 24, 2018 by richard Benton

    hi jorma et al im livin here in Chicago retired union carpenter,and watchin my granddaughter Lucille mae I grew up in san Francisco and n cal I was a student at sfzc always a big fan of Jefferson airplane and blue country heart I played it on my I phone for the folks in the lobby when lucy was being born shes 2 now,and heart and mind are in good hands-my daughter lisa marie,and my wife maura(that’s gaelic for Mary)

  2. Comment made on July 5, 2018 by Walt Hetfield

    Funny thing….I remember going to “sleep away” camp too….in Vermont in 1969. We had to “double up” around mid-August because some of the counselors quit early to “hitch hike to some big rock concert.”

  3. Comment made on July 2, 2018 by Mitch Spector

    @Jorma Awesome Jorma !! Have a great 4th of july .Peace always

  4. Comment made on July 1, 2018 by Susan

    I suppose that it’s nice to be yourself in a crowd, unrecognized, as people there, whom you may, or may not, interact with, will have no assumptions, nor preconceptions, regarding who you are and what you’re thinking or feeling about the exhibit or experience. You’re simply a guy there with his wife and child enjoying the experience . Funny what one can be grateful for! Happy it happened that way. Everyone deserves to enjoy their privacy.

  5. Comment made on June 30, 2018 by richu

    O my gawd youre daughter grew leaps and bounds.Do u remember sea weed strut?

  6. Comment made on June 30, 2018 by Robert Burke

    I probably would have been hovering in the background wanting to “Say Hey”.

  7. Comment made on June 29, 2018 by John B

    ” Memories they cant be boughten, they cant be won at carnivals for free. Well it took me years to get those souvenirs…..” John Prine @HOGAN

  8. Comment made on June 29, 2018 by uncle jack

    That is a beautiful piece, I have 2 daughters

  9. Comment made on June 29, 2018 by HOGAN

    You have made such wonderful memories with your children that they will never forget, and no one can ever take them away from them.


  10. Comment made on June 28, 2018 by Art

    I was 10 in 1969. But my older sister went to the event. As Robin Williams said, “Anyone who remembers the 60s wasn’t there.” I’ve asked her about it a bunch of times. How’d you like Hendrix? Don’t remember. The Who? Don’t remember. The Airplane? CSN? Sly and the Family Stone? Uh uh. What DO you remember? Janis Joplin – she was amazing! OK, but what the heck? Was she asleep for three freaking days?

  11. Comment made on June 28, 2018 by Greg

    Wait? YOU have to pay to get into the Woodstock museum? One would think it should be the other way around!

  12. Comment made on June 28, 2018 by eaglesteve

    Happy Birthday girl…and any more

  13. Comment made on June 27, 2018 by Brian Doyle

    Coming back unseen to the true color revolution…

    Come with me my friend…

    Soon to be in another country…

    I’m in a good mood…Just got front row center to Hot Tuna…

  14. Comment made on June 27, 2018 by carey georgas

    Anonymity has it advantages.

  15. Comment made on June 27, 2018 by Mitch Spector

    haha !! Very Cool .I would have !! lol

  16. Comment made on June 27, 2018 by rich l

    I sold a good ol’ boy down in Tupelo Mississippi several years ago. Let me tell you, Joe was a hoot!

    At any rate, he took me to his house in the country after work. On the way there, we stopped at Elvis’s boyhood home. It was the size of a small garage. People in Joe’s neck of the woods still get together for breakfast at the local greasy spoon in the morning before work. Joe told me that after Elvis had made it big, he came back to visit friends in Tupelo. He asked them a very simple, yet profound, question; “Now that I’ve made it, how do I get back to here.”

    That glitter and fame gets old I guess. I guess there is something to be said about chewing the fat with old friends. href=”#comment-38091″>@Jorma

  17. Comment made on June 27, 2018 by Bennett H Horowitz

    Some of the Airplane’s Woodstock performance was recently reposted on Facebook. What struck me is how incendiary & powerful the playing was…and the players were SO young. Just great, and it still has a unique power!

  18. Comment made on June 27, 2018 by Tom Fabry

    Blessings and growth for your daughter and all children growing up in these tempestuous times.

    Question – How many other visitors or employees at the museum recognized you and said hello, or did you go in real stealth like?

    You and Vanessa can write off the admission ticket and some of the miles to Bethel…T’was research, no? Capitalism isn’t all bad.

    60s wasn’t all bad either. Crosby said something to the effect, “we were right about working to stop the war, civil rights, environment, etc but we were wrong about the drugs’.
    I agree with that specific assessment. There was some real poisonous and pernicious KoolAid, both in thinking and in pharmakeia back in those days. Real subtle. You know the old adage, “a thousand truths for one grand lie.”

    Thank God for the body and mind that can heal.

    To all of those we know who have fallen, may God bless their souls.

    “And nothin’s gonna be the way it was before
    Cause still I feel the shadow from the pistol’s roar
    Above the head that’s fallen”

    Enjoy the summertime

  19. Comment made on June 27, 2018 by rich l

    “her awkward steps with promised onward leaps…”

    I was sitting in the family room talking to a friend on the phone when my daughter was about one. All of the sudden she stands up and takes three “awkward” steps and plops down on her big ol’ diaper butt! She turned around and looked at me with this incredible smile that shouted, “Did you see what I just did?!”

    I immediately told my friend, “Andy, I just saw my daughter take her first three steps!” He laughed and said, “Richie, it will just keep getting better and better.” All the tea in China could not have purchased that moment.

    I retold that story over dinner in Bellingham Washington two weekends ago when she graduated from Western Washington University. I had breakfast on the morning when I was flying back with Taylor and her brother. As I left the restaurant, I received a notice that my 3:55 flight out of Seattle was cancelled!

    I was in full panic mode. Within about 30 minutes, Taylor had me booked on the 2:30 flight, and arranged for an Uber to pick me up to get me to the airport on time. as I jumped in the car, she gave me a big hug and said “I love you daddy.”

    Two things about this; first, while I’m not exactly a technological dinosaur, there is no way I could have quickly arranged the new flight and Uber like she did. That sort of stuff is second nature to kids now a days. Secondly, the Uber driver whose name was Abdul said, “you’re daughter has a beautiful heart.” He said he could just sense that in his brief encounter with her.

    I made the flight by about a half hour. But Abdul’s observation was worth all the anxiety and commotion the cancelled flight caused. Indeed, “onward leaps” for Taylor and continued worries and prayers from her dad.

    “A sons a son, till he takes a wife. But a daughter’s a daughter for life.” – Emily Griffin

  20. Comment made on June 27, 2018 by Mitch Spector

    God bless Izzy ! Hope she has the greatest summer .Jorma i am so proud to call you my musical hero because to me your also a hero of life & this beautiful world. God bless you and your family always !

  21. Comment made on June 26, 2018 by Joey

    The 60’s scared the shit out of the establishment. Civil rights? Ain’t happening. Open minded free thinking?Fuggetaboutit. Good music? Nope. Progressive political agenda? Yer outta here! Liberal was a dirty word for 30 some years! Middle class? Gone.
    Yep, the establishment took care of that, along with fairness, equality, $$ & otherwise, and replaced it with an accepted ideology of me first, unless maybe your skin is the right color.
    And taxes? We can’t pay for the military, and social security with low tax rates for the wealthy.
    Degrading the environment by getting rid of regulations? That’s today’s agenda.
    Yes indeed, they saw the future coming in all colors of the rainbow, and they weren’t having it. Ever notice how in communist countries it always seems gray? I’ve been there, it is. The Democratic experiment is in danger from a cancer within.
    The 60’s were a wonderful celebration of the human spirit. I pray that ideology is not squashed.

  22. Comment made on June 26, 2018 by Kevin

    Today? Today is the opposite of that collective experience. It’s me against you, us against them, left against right, there is no longer a middle ground, no grey area, no compromise. There was always a road to the middle ground, a compromise, we just have to find a way to get there again.

  23. Comment made on June 26, 2018 by Rob

    It was about filling each moment with vision: creative vision, spiritual vision, revolutionary vision, psychedelic vision–fueled mostly by collective experience. The question for me is what is it all about today? That’s the one I can’t answer.

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