Earthworms’ Castings

By Jean Ponzi


Love is a Construction Tool


I’ve been thinking about community: what it means, how it works, how to build it. We need community-level power to address the mess of today’s world.


I got onto this train of thought reflecting on the life and loves of Larry Weir, my longtime radio friend and colleague.


If you’ve listened to KDHX, St. Louis Community Radio, anytime in January you probably heard a lot of unusually personal feelings and stories mixed into the usual diverse flow of music. It would’ve been hard to miss how this on-air community was honoring and mourning one voice who became a friend to many.


And surely you would’ve picked up a feel for the guy at the focal point of all those tributes. Larry loved music, his wife, music, baseball, music, working in radio, doing things with his many friends, music and good beer.


Larry was in the handful of today’s cast of characters heard on FM-88 who got involved 23 years ago, back at the station’s eccentric beginning. He died on January 13. He was only 57, in fine health. It was one of those freaky things: a simple fall caused traumatic injury. His number was up and he was gone.


You know how people unite in times of sudden stress or transition. We give of ourselves and pull together when great need arises. A torrent of love, prayers and positive intention – borne by electrons and radio waves – flowed to Larry and his family in a vigil of hope that he would recover, and then with sympathy for his passing. Likewise people world-wide are pouring their love, prayers and tangible aid across the seas to the people of Haiti in response to earthquake devastation.


Americans for sure – maybe humans in general – are at our best when others need us. We form communities of concern, we organize and we get crackin’. What prompts us to respond in joined forces? Compassion, empathy, generosity, kindness – which are all aspects of Love. We pick up our tools of human feeling and work to make things better.


Issues on Planet Earth today are way too big and complex for only individual action. We’ve got to work together as local, interest-group and planetary communities. We need to put aside our differences and put our shoulders to the common good. There’s plenty of work to go around, and way more than any one can handle.


Immersed in feeling the tributes to my friend Larry, his example stands out like a billboard. He focused on the things he loved. He used his Community Radio work to advance the cause of his favorite singer-songwriter style of music. At the end of his day, musicians, his radio station, and all of us who listened are truly better for his efforts. And there’s more. Larry worked through KDHX, in a host of volunteers working to benefit our audience-community. The whole St. Louis cultural scene is better for these efforts too, which strengthens many other aspects of community. Benefits multiply.


So here’s what I’m thinking in this month when Love is so clothed in commercial romance, while needs are pressing all around us. I think Love is the tool that enables us all to build and work in effective circles, to form communities of shared interest and concern, and address the needs at hand.


The bonus from working with what you love – as Larry Weir profoundly embodied – is you get to (mostly) focus in what you enjoy, which in turn helps keep you going.


Larry was only one guy, same as each one of us. When we join with others who share what we love, we build a community of shared concern and much good can be accomplished.


With Joy as our source of renewable juice and Love as a powerful tool for construction – what needs building?


Jean Ponzi hosts the environmental talk show Earthworms, now on Mondays 7-8 p.m. on FM-88 KDHX. Enjoy many tributes to Larry Weir (and get Earthworms podcasts) at www.kdhx.org.