The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #112178   Message #2375270
Posted By: Amos
26-Jun-08 - 09:52 PM
Thread Name: Obit: songwriter Tom Hunter (1946 - 2008)
Subject: RE: Obit: Tom Hunter
I recently got the following from Linda Allen, and found it moving, regarding Tom's death.


We have fallen into the place where everything is music.    --Rumi

Dear Friends,
This morning I was sitting in my back yard listening. There was a soft breeze in the branches, a variety of birds calling, and then the swift, wonderful brush of a humming bird. My friend Tom Hunter, in the weeks before his death, when his vision had faded, could hear much more intensely. He and Scott talked about the sounds I'm hearing now -- how everything is music. Then I remembered the Rumi poem that you can read below. Tom liked Rumi. This poem felt particularly fitting.

Tom's death on Friday has been devastating to those of us who were blessed to have known him. He, Gwen, Irene and Aeden were there for me in every major transition of my years in Bellingham -- through my divorce, my marriage to Scott (Tom officiated), the baptism of our son (Tom officiated), the major and minor birthday celebrations, the Super Bowl games. Tom was always there. He was a minister, a traveling minstrel, a wonderful songwriter. I knew some of his songs before he moved to Bellingham over thirty years ago. One of my favorites is below.

Many of us here in Bellingham are wearing buttons. They say, "Keep It Going". When Tom had lost so much of his ability to speak, when friends came to visit, those were his words. So I keep it going. In August, I'll officiate a wedding, and will borrow some of his ideas for that. I'll be singing his songs for the rest of my days. I'll be
keeping it going through my work as a traveling minstrel, educator and minister.

Tom modeled many things for me, but his last gift was in his dying. I'd like to recommend that you visit his blog: , and read the amazing tributes that have poured in from around the globe. And take the time to click on "Beautiful Nighttime" where you can read Irene, Aeden, and Gwen's comments.
He died surrounded by loving family and friends and so much music! And he stayed in the place of gratitude until the very end. What a gift to us all.

There will be a funeral on Saturday and benefit concerts in July. On the blog, you can also find out about ways that you can help the family with donations, yard work, food, animal care, and more.

By way of "Keeping it Going" I'd like to let you know that beginning on July 1st, I'll be available as a presenter with the Inquiring Mind program of Humanities Washington. I'll be doing a power point, musical program called "Here's to the Women!" about the history of women in Washington State, with a special emphasis on the struggle for the vote. 2009, 2010 is the 100-year celebration of Suffrage here.

So here's Tom's song and the Rumi poem.
Keep it going,


All I can hear are the crickets
And the whistle from some lonely freight
I've been working so hard to make everything right
But for now it'll just have to wait

`Cause tonight I'd like you to rock me to sleep
I'd like you to sing me a song'
I'm tired of trying to figure things out
And I'm tired of being so strong

I've never been too good at asking
I'm more apt to do it alone
And it's strange how a lot of us think something's wrong
If we can't do it all on our own

It's funny how times when you're hurting
Make what's so faniiliar seem strange
So when you need help, it's hardest to ask
And it always takes so long to change

                   --Tom Hunter

Don't worry about saving these songs!
And if one of our instruments breaks,
it doesn't matter.

We have fallen into the place
where everything is music.

The strumming and the flute notes
rise into the atmosphere,
and even if the whole world's harp
should burn up, there will still be
hidden instruments playing.

So the candle flickers and goes out.
We have a piece of flint, and a spark.

This singing art is sea foam.
The graceful movements come from a pearl
somewhere on the ocean floor.

Poems reach up like spindrift and the edge
of driftwood along the beach, wanting!

They derive
from a slow and powerful root
that we can't see.

Stop the words now.
Open the window in the center of your chest,
and let the spirits fly in and out.

                   --Jalaluddin Rumi