"Houston: We Feel Your Pain. Aug 29, 2011." Those were the words on the lighted sign outside the Rotterdam Junction, NY fire department as I drove from my family's farm in the Mohawk Valley back to my home in the Hudson Valley. From one valley to another. 6 years ago a friend of the family, a fellow farmer, the patriarch of a farm family in the Schoharie and Mohawk Valleys, lost his life driving through standing water to inspect his fields flooded by Hurricane Irene. 6 years ago my brother came home with a look on his face I'll never forget. He spent the day pulling dead cows out of flooded barns. Irene wasn't even a hurricane by the time it got around to knocking on the Northeast's door. That wording didn't matter to the folks in upstate NY, in VT, NH... We were devastated. Six years later you can still see the scars, if you know where to look. And now, the scale of what's happening down south is almost unfathomable, even for those of us who've seen a bit of it before.
This week we announced that Rootstock 2017 will take place on October 1st, right down by the river in Beacon. I've never been prouder of the lineup: this time around, Daisycutter will be joined by The Gibson Brothers, Sloan Wainwright, and The Shockenaw Mountain Boys. I'm honored and humbled to be sharing the stage with such company. The money that we raise will go towards establishing an emergency relief fund for local farmers, to help them keep going in the immediate wake of natural disasters. However, farmers are one big community, joined by our commitment to the land, to growing and feeding our neighbors, and by the soil in our veins. The Northeast farming community knows firsthand the pain and suffering our sisters and brothers in Texas are going through, and our hearts are breaking with them. So in support and solidarity with our fellow farmers in Texas, we're donating at least 10% of this year's net proceeds from the Rootstock festival to flood relief and recovery efforts for Texas farmers. You can get the full details over at www.rootstockfest.org
You can download the song I wrote post-Irene, West of Eden, for free here at Bandcamp. We're also donating all our proceeds from album downloads to Red Cross relief efforts in Texas.
Hang in there, Houston. We know how you feel- and we know how tough farmers (and Texans) are. We're with you, and sending you all our love and support.
West of Eden
- Sara Milonovich c. 2012 (ASCAP)
Driving, dodging the deer and the drunks
Past foundations left in the floodplain so long
Still there waiting where the water put them down
It is just flotsam? Or one more farm gone?
Who do you blame? The corps of engineers?
Or the wind and the rain, the way that they came out of nowhere?
Quench the thirsty downtown- we’ll never know the reason
They left us here West of Eden waiting to drown
Remember the fields in afternoons of amber
Now they’re buried in brown, and I feel like a foreignlander
Not anymore use– just a helpless bystander
Got to stand up for something, better be your neighbor
Neon eye’s focused on wildfires now
Long since forgotten the lead lining inside the clouds
Nothing left to do but wear it with pride as a shroud
It's a bitter drink, just swallow it down
The grass has grown up to hide the worst of the scars
The money’s dried up with the mud in the yard
We sang “goodnight” but we’re still waiting for the stars
Could have cut out and run, but we just give up too hard
We’re still here West of Eden, waiting to drown.