Friday, October 9, 2009

Imagine (in Iceland)

Sometimes the simplest, most playful ideas are the best.

Today is John Lennon's birthday. If he'd lived, he would be 69 years old.

That's almost impossible to imagine. And out of all the celebrities who've died in my lifetime, I took his death the hardest. (I never met him, I didn't even like all his music, but there was something about his spirit that I connected with at a very deep and fundamental level.)

In the same way, I connect with Iceland in a very deep and fundamental level. There's something amazing and spiritual about Iceland and it's reflected in their lifestyle, their music, and in their amazingly beautiful scenery.

Every year, Iceland holds a huge music festival in October called Iceland Airwaves. Every year I vow to get there, but I haven't made it yet.

Three years ago, Yoko Ono started construction on the Imagine Peace Tower, on a small island just off the coast of Reykjavik, Iceland. Since this project combined John Lennon and Iceland, I followed its progress closely.

The "tower" consists of a wishing well, on which is written the phrase "Imagine Peace" in 24 languages. Under the base of the wishing well are more than a half-million written wishes that Ono collected from people all around the world.

Two years ago, the tower was unveiled. Each year on John Lennon's birthday, the monument becomes a "tower of light" as 15 searchlights are bounced through mirrors and prisms to create a beam of light that stretches more than 12,000 feet into the sky. The tower of light is kept lit each year until December 8 (the day John Lennon was killed).

If you can't make it to Iceland, you can see live streaming video of the tower here.

Read more about the project here.

IMAGINE PEACE TOWER from Yoko Ono on Vimeo.

And once again this year, I vow to make it over to Iceland Airwaves... and to see this magnificent tower of light stretch up to the sky.


Alex said...

And it's oddly appropriate that the Nobel Peace Prize would also be announced today!

mark said...

indeed it is sweetly appropriate. nice to take a day off of cynicism. thanks for posting.

Late Blooming Mom said...

What a cool place to have been touched by the Lennon legacy.

Mister Pleasant said...

I love me some volcanoes - so Iceland is way up on the my list of fascinating places. Have not been there yet - unless flying over it at 35,000 feet counts.

The sight of the lighting of the Imagine Peace Tower in the video is jaw-droppingly breathtaking. I am not Yoko's biggest fan but this tower makes a magnificent statement. It captures my heart and mind.

Over the years naysayers have sniped at Lennon's wealth and juxtaposed it against the lyrics in Imagine. John is no longer with us to respond, but that song still strikes a deep chord within me. It will outlive its creator as an eternal hope that we will evolve into something better.

Tom Degan's Daily Rant said...

Nothing to do to save his life; call his wife in.

All he was saying was, "Give peace a chance".

When a celebrated person passes on, we may pause and reflect for a moment on his or her life and career, but then we move on. We may watch with appreciation the brilliant performance of a long dead James Dean in the film Giant and think not a thing about his absence from our lives. That's not the case in this instance.
I sure do miss John Lennon.
Before you cross the street
Take my hand
Life is what happens to you
While you're busy making other plans
Anyone who was living in Goshen, NY in December 1980 will remember this:

Six days after he died, on Saturday the fourteenth, a worldwide vigil in John's memory was held at 2 PM EST. For ten minutes there was silence - peace - all across the planet earth. I had a couple friends over to observe the event on television. In the village of Goshen, although it had been a clear and sunny day, the moment the vigil began at two o'clock, it began to snow - and not just flurries - for ten solid minutes there was a blinding blizzard. At exactly 2:10, the moment the vigil ended, the snow stopped and the sun came out. His child-like, 1971 anthem, Imagine, drifted through the ether:

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world

It was only at that moment that I felt happy for John Lennon.

Tom Degan
Goshen, NY

Anonymous said...

That was totally awesome to learn of. Thanks

Alex said...

Hey Whabs! Nice to see you here.

Tom, I miss John Lennon a lot, too... and couldn't help but want to see him on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart or hear what he would have said when Barack Obama was elected.

I heard the story about the snow at the time, but didn't remember it at all until you mentioned it. Thanks for the reminder.