The Creation Spirituality of

John Denver


Todd F. Eklof

January 2005

Anyone who knows me well knows I’m a huge John Denver fan.  My unfortunate wife and children often tease me on our long road trips together because he’s all I ever want to listen to in the car.  Not that they dislike John Denver themselves, but I suppose they can only take so much of a good thing.  I, on the other hand, seem never to tire of his inspiring music.  I suppose, since I’ve only become a Denver fan during recent years, I’m trying to make up for lost time.  I do recall hearing and enjoying his music played on the radio during my childhood in the 1970’s, when he was arguably the most successful and popular performer in the country with chart toppers like, “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” “Rocky Mountain High,” “Sunshine On My Shoulders,” “Annie’s Song,” “Back Home Again,” “Thank God I’m A Country Boy,” and “Calypso.” Although I would have hardly described myself as a fan in those days, I remember the warm and simple images his soothing tenor voice conjured making me feel good and peaceful.

            I also remember feeling much sadder than I would have expected upon hearing the news of his untimely death back in 1997.  He was only 53 at the time his experimental aircraft crashed into the ocean not far from his home in Northern California.  At the time I owned only one of his CD’s, which I hardly ever listened to, but his death reminded me of the time I tried to purchase ten of his cassette tapes at a Texas pawnshop.  It was right after I’d graduated from college and was preparing to move to Louisville, Kentucky to continue my education at Southern Seminary.  I was in the pawnshop on a fluke the day before I was planning to leave when I noticed the tapes and thought, “John Denver… hmm… I’ve always liked hearing him.  He’d be good company on my trip.” So I offered the pawnbroker ten bucks for the entire set.  He looked at me and grunted despairingly, like, “You must be kidding.” Since I really didn’t even have the ten dollars to spare, I couldn’t offer him any more and ended up making my move without Denver’s accompaniment.  Nearly a decade later I purchased his greatest hits album on a whim through one of those “buy twelve CDs for the price of one” offers you get in the mail.

            It wasn’t until 2000, at the turn of the century, that I finally obtained a car with a CD player for the first time in my life.  I picked a few of my favorites CD’s off my music shelf to start keeping with me in the car, including John Denver’s Greatest Hits.   At some point I stuck it in the player and, much to my surprise, didn’t take it out again for many weeks.  I found his music soothing and his lyrics touching, if not subtly inspiring.   After several weeks passed and I found myself not wanting to listen to anything else, I purchased the next two discs in his Greatest Hits collection.  After a year or more of listening repeatedly to nothing but these three discs on countless road trips, I began thinking I ought to try expanding my horizons so my family will stop poking fun of me. “What is it I like so much about John Denver’s music?” I asked myself.  At the time I thought, perhaps, it had something to do with his particular style, so I began trying out other folk artists which weren’t nearly as satisfying and, I’ve since realized, are among too narrow a category to describe Denver’s music in the first place.

            It wasn’t until I first began studying Creation Spirituality in 2003 that I realized precisely what it is about Denver’s music that so uniquely satisfies me, so profoundly stirs me, and why I rarely want to listen to anybody else.  For it was then I began to understand this incredible artist was giving lyrical voice to some of my most sacred beliefs.   If theologian Matthew Fox has written the book on Creation Spirituality, it’s John Denver who has written its hymnal.

            Fox, the former Catholic priest silenced by the Vatican in 1989 after publishing his controversial book Original Blessing, and later dismissed by his Dominican Order, has, without a doubt, been modernity’s loudest proponent of Creation Spirituality.  Denver, on the other hand, who died tragically just two years after Fox was officially defrocked, may have never even heard of the movement.  It’s important to remember, however, that Matthew Fox did not invent Creation Spirituality, but, as a theologian, has only uncovered and explored what is possibly the oldest form of spirituality in the Universe.  I say “Universe” and not “the world,” because Creation, according to Fox, “is the source, the matrix, and the goal of all things—the beginning and the end, the alpha and the omega.  Creation is our common parent, when ‘our’ stands for all things.  Creation is the mother of all beings and the father of all beings, the birther and the begetter.”[1] Creation Spirituality, then, is about cosmology, in that it recognizes and honors the interconnectedness of all that is, which is precisely the spirit contained in many of John Denver’s songs, including my favorite of them all, The Wings that Fly Us Home. [2] Its final stanza celebrates the cosmic presence in all things;


And the Spirit fills the darkness of the heavens

It fills the endless yearning of the soul

It lives within a star too far to dream of

It lives within each part and is the whole

It’s the fire and the wings that fly us home

Fly us home, fly us home


            Reflecting about the meaning of this song, Denver said, “It expresses the truth about the way we look at things; how we sometimes color things depending on our individual positions and priorities in life.   The real truth, though, is the spirit that is in all of us.   We are all one, we are all brothers and sisters and it is that spirit that brought us into the world and that will take us from this world to our home in heaven.”[3] What Denver sees as the “spirit in all of us” is what the Lokata people recognize as “all our relations,” implying, as Matthew Fox explains;


…all beings, all things, the ones we see and the ones we do not; the whirling galaxies, and the wild suns, the black holes and the microorganisms, the trees and the stars, the fish and the whales, the wolves and the porpoises, the flowers and the rocks, the molten lava and the towering snow-capped mountains, the children we give birth to and their children, and theirs, and theirs and theirs.  The unemployed single mother and the university student, the campesino and the landowner, the frog in the pond and the snake in the grass, the colors of a bright sunny day and the utter darkness of a rain forest at night, the plumage of sparkling parrots and the beat of an African drum, the kiva of the Hopi and the wonder of Chartres Cathedral, the excitement of New York City and the despair of an overcrowded prison are included as well… Creation is all space, all time—all things past, present and future.[4]


            Indeed, the oneness of all things seems to be a common experience among all mystics.  Thomas Aquinas said, “God is in all things and most intimately so.”[5] Julian of Norwich said, “we have all been enclosed within God,”[6] and Mechtild of Magdeburg wrote, “The day of my spiritual awakening was the day I saw and I knew I saw all things in God and God in all things.”[7] These statements sound a lot like the summer chorus of Denver’s Season Suite;

And oh I love the life within me

I feel part of everything I see

And oh I love the life around me

A part of everything is here in me[8]


            During his 1995 Harbor Lights Concert in Boston, Denver told his audience that his environmental anthem, Amazon,[9] came to represent his “greatest longing and deepest commitment.” Some of it lyrics sound more than similar to what Matthew Fox has stated above.


There is a river that runs from the mountains

That one river is all rivers, all rivers are that one

There is a tree that stands in the forest

That one tree is all forests, all trees are that one

There is a flower that blooms in the desert

That one blossom is all flowers, all flowers are that one

There is a bird that sings in the jungle

That one song is all music, all songs are that one…

There is a child that cries in the ghetto

That one child is all our children, all of our children are that one

There is a vision that shines in the darkness

That one vision is all of our dreams, all of our dreams are that one


                It is clear from many examples like this that John Denver was greatly inspired by Creation—in the largest sense of the word!  It’s for this reason, though he’s mostly known as a singer and songwriter, that he ought to also be counted among the mystics, and, given the impact his message is still having in our day, he might even be one of the most important mystics ever to have lived!   The 13th century mystic, Meister Eckhart said, “compassion means justice,” to which Matthew Fox adds, “…Creation-Centered Spirituality considers that a consciousness of faith needs to include a social, political, economic awareness that is critical and that offers workable and creative alternatives.”[10] In other words, our mystical encounters with God through Creation motivate us to create justice in the world by returning “all our relations” to what science calls “homeostasis,” to that state of balance inherent in all things.  John Denver was precisely the sort of mystic whose connection to Creation moved him to action.  During Jimmy Carter’s Administration, he was asked to serve on the Presidential Commission on World and Domestic Hunger and was one of the five founders of The Hunger Project, a strategic organization and global movement committed to the sustainable end of world hunger.  He served on its Board of Directors from 1981 to 1993.   He also served on a fact-finding delegation to Africa as both a representative of The Hunger Project and UNICEF and was presented the “World Without Hunger” award from President Ronald Reagan.  In addition to many other philanthropic awards, including the 1990 National Wildlife Federation Conservation Achievement Award, the activist pop star helped start several important environmental organizations, including Plant-it 2020, which urges people all over the world to plant as many indigenous trees as possible in an effort to reforest and replenish the Earth.  The organization’s efforts have resulted in the planting of over a million indigenous trees since Denver founded it in 1992.  He also worked hard to support Save The Children, The Cousteau Society, Friends of The Earth, the Human/Dolphin Foundation and the Windstar Foundation, an educational organization he started in 1976 to help promote holistic approaches to address environmental concerns.

    His activism expresses that aspect of Creation Spirituality Matthew Fox has called the Via Transformativa, referring to the transformation of society itself. “This transformation is an issue of compassion,” writes Fox, “the response to an interdependent universe in which [quoting Eckhart] ‘all beings love one another.’” [11] Surely this is what Denver himself intuitively understood when he said, “I see more clearly now what I can do about (the Earth’s needs), and I see that it needs doing as I live my life, daily, reverently.  This isn’t the reverence of ‘holier than thou.’ it’s the reverence that says, ‘Do thyself no harm, for we are all here together.’ Not you or me, but you and me."[12] It is clear, through his work and his music that Denver’s heart really did deeply feel the suffering in the world around him.  A familiar line from Sunshine on My Shoulders[13] goes, “If I had a song that I could sing for you, I’d sing a song to make you feel this way.” It seems to me every song Denver sang was an attempt to help evoke his compassion in others.  His songs have a singular way of making his fans feel precisely what he himself must have been thinking and feeling when he was first inspired to write them, and, as is the point of this discourse, what inspired his music is Creation Spirituality, that is, the cosmological connection of all that is.  Denver himself said, “When I write a song, I want to take the personal experience or observation that inspired it and express it in as universal a way as possible.   I'm a global citizen.  I've created that for myself, and I don't want to step away from it.  I want to work in whatever I do… towards a world in balance, a world that creates a better quality of life for all people."[14]

            In 1985, for example, Denver traveled to what is now the former USSR to perform his song Let Us Begin[15] with Alexandre Gradsky, the first Soviet singer allowed to perform on record with an American artist.[16]  The song links the peoples of both countries by emphasizing the plight of the American farmer and the suffering of those who died during the siege of Leningrad. “What are we making weapons for?” the song asks;


Why keep on feeding the war machine?

We take it right out of the mouths of our babies

Take it away from the hands of the poor

Tell me, what are we making weapons for?


            The song ends with an undisguised reference to the Cold War and the threat of nuclear holocaust;


Have we forgotten

All the lives that were given?

All the vows that were taken?

Saying never again

Now for the first time

This could be the last time

If peace is our vision

Let us begin


            Raven’s Child,[17] written in 1990, may be less familiar to mainstream audiences, but its prophetic cry for justice is no less poignant.   It begins by poetically alluding to Raven’s child “chasing salvation” whose black beak has “turned white from the crack and the snow… on the streets of despair… a spoonful of mercy can set free the soul.” He blames the arrogant drug king who sits “away and above and apart… even children are twisted to serve him and greed has corrupted what once was a heart.” During the next stanza Raven’s child is “keeping vigil for freedom” by trading arms and placing “nuclear warheads and lasers in heaven… fear does the choosing between right and wrong.” He blames the arrogant arms king whose heart has become a stone.  Next he sings of Raven’s child attempting to wash herself clean, “her wing feathers blackened with tar… Prince Williams shoreline’s an unwanted highway of asphalt and anger, an elegant scar.” Denver blames the oil king for this unsettling predicament, whose heart has been made silent by lawyers who warn him not to speak.  Finally he sings of hearts that “long to be opened and eyes that are longing to see…


Raven’s Child is our constant companion

Sticks like a shadow to all that is done

Try as we may we just can’t escape him

The source of our sorrow and shame

We are one

The true King sits on a heavenly throne

Never away nor above nor apart

With wisdom and mercy and constant compassion

He lives in the love that lives in our hearts


            Song’s like these also indicate a degree of anger and sorrow Denver must have felt on some level; an experience that, in mystical terms, is sometimes called the “dark night of the soul.” In terms of Creation Spirituality this experience of letting go and letting be is what Matthew Fox refers to as the Via Negativa.  Meister Eckhart said, “The ground of the soul is dark.”[18] As full of hope as most of Denver’s songs are, they ask us to feel and face many of the painful realities he himself had to face with grief and longing for a way out.  Take the deep grief expressed in Whose Garden Was This,[19] for example, the first of his many songs with an environmental message;


Whose garden was this?

It must have been lovely

Did it have flowers?

I’ve seen pictures of flowers

And I’d love to have smelled one


Whose river was this?

You say it ran freely

Blue was its color

I’ve seen blue in some pictures

And I’d love to have been there…


Whose gray sky was this?

Or was it a blue one?

You say there were breezes

I’ve heard records of breezes

And you tell me you felt one


            Between these grievous stanzas, Denver bellows out the chorus that at once exudes both anger and desperation;


Tell me again I need to know

The forest had trees, the meadows were green

The oceans were blue, and birds really flew

Can you swear that it’s true?


            Matthew Fox goes on to suggests the Via Negativa, the dark night of the soul, this experience of letting go and letting be, is also about letting go of what we don’t need so those who don’t have enough might have their needs met. “There is no way to restore balance to the relationship of ‘First’ and ‘Third’ worlds,” he writes, “without the First World learning to let go.”[20] These words seem to echo what Denver was getting at in his 1986 song, One World;[21]


Why are you calling this the Third World?

I only know that it is my world

Maybe someday it can be our world

Can you imagine one world, one world?


            Speaking of letting go, one of his more familiar songs, Poems and Prayers and Promises may serve as some comfort to those fans still mourning Denver’s untimely loss.  The song begins with the singer thinking about his life and how much he’s “gonna hate to see it end.” He goes on to talk about all the simple things in life he enjoys like, lying by the fire and watching the evening tire “While all my friends and my old lady sit and pass the pipe around.” He even mourns the loss of his dreams as “the days pass so quickly,” like the possibility of never raising a family, of sailing away or dancing “across the Moon.”  This line in particular is a reference to the little known fact that Denver was a huge supporter of NASA’s space program.  In 1985 he received the NASA Medal for Public Service, and was at one time a leading candidate to be the first civilian in space.  He was actually planning on writing a song aboard the space shuttle Challenger but circumstances prevented him from joining the ill-fated 1986 mission that turned disastrous.  So dancing across the Moon is a dream he had to let go of.  Yet his song goes on, as if to say his short life was full enough, even without accomplishing all his dreams.


I have to say it now

It’s been a good life all in all

It’s really fine

To have a chance to hang around


            Regarding his song, Sweet Surrender,[22] originally written for a Disney film about a Vietnam veteran, Denver said, “…the first part of the song talks about not knowing what the future holds, and yet not being in a hurry to get there.  Then, the song moves to the idea of surrendering to life...  Joy, really, is the surrendering to what life has to offer.  So surrender—not without purpose.  It’s not giving up or succumbing—it’s taking steps yourself, it’s moving forward and not sitting around waiting for something to happen.  Don’t hold back because you’re afraid of something.  Surrender—go for it and surrender.[23]

            Like all true mystics, John Denver was a prophet, and his prophetic songs inspired a vision for the entire world.  In Creation Spirituality this kind of envisioning is called the Via Creativa, referring to our ability to be co-creators with God in the continuing process of Creation.  Surely this is what Denver understood when he recorded Bill Danoff’s Native American tune, Potter’s Wheel;[24]


Earth and fire and wind conspire

With human hands, and love, and fire

Take a little clay, put it on a wheel

Get a little hint, how God must feel

Give a little turn, listen to it spin
Make it in the shape you want it in

            Matthew Fox tells us it is during our experience as co-creators that we “make a choice of what images to trust.”[25] So many of Denver’s songs are about the images he came to trust and the vision he tried to pass on.  What One Man Can Do,[26] in particular, is a song celebrating the vision of Buckminster Fuller, who was himself a co-creator through his work as an architect and inventor, as well as a poet and cosmologist who gave the world a vision that, if pursued, promised to end poverty and hunger within a single generation.

As shaded as his eyes might be

That’s how bright his mind is

That’s how strong his love

For you and me

A friend to all the universe

Grandfather of the future

And everything that I would like to be

What one man can do is dream

What one man can do is love

What one man can do is chage the world

And make it new again

Here you see what one man can do


            The words to his inspirational song, Higher Ground,[27] call upon those who hear them to remember the vision, the calling that comes wrapped up inside each one of us.


There are those who can live

With the things they don’t believe in

They are giving up their lives

For something that is less than it can be

Some have longed for a home

In a place of inspiration

Some will fill the emptiness inside

By giving it all to the things that they believe

They believe

Maybe it’s just a dream in me

Maybe it’s just my style

Maybe it’s just the freedom that I’ve found

Given the possibility

Of living up to the dream in me

You know that I’ll be reaching for higher ground


            As a visionary, Denver was also on a vision quest, seeking out those images he could trust.  This seems to be, in part, what his song, Looking For Space is about.  Denver himself credited the song to his experiences in the est movement.  In his autobiography, Take Me Home, Denver said, “Space was a metaphor for what needed to be internalized.  It wasn’t a fixed entity, but spiritual territory to be staked out and built upon… Before est came into the picture, I was already searching for expressions of myself, beyond music, but it was est that gave me confidence to follow through.”[28] Est is an acronym for the Erhard Seminar Training founded by Werner Erhard back in 1971, and is also the Greek word meaning “it is.” Denver became involved with the movement in 1973 when he was 30 years old.  Although est is too complicated to get into here, suffice it to say, it involves the sort of training meant to help people put their pasts behind them in order to exist in this moment, in this space.  As Erhard wrote, “Create your future from your future not your past.”[29] This is the context out of which Denver wrote many of his lyrics including these;


And I’m looking for space

And to find out who I am

And I’m looking to know and understand

It’s a sweet, sweet dream

Sometimes I’m almost there

Sometimes I fly like an eagle and

Sometimes I’m deep in despair


            In his book, The Awakened Heart, author Gerald May tells us the Hebrew word for salvation, yeshuah, connotes "space and the freedom and security which is gained by the removal of constriction."[30] In other words, salvation comes, not by freeing the soul, as is so often the point of western religion, but by opening space, that is, making more room, in the world and in our hearts.  This sounds a lot like what Denver was getting at when he said, “I believe that for all of us, one of the purposes in life, one of the processes of life, is to find, to create, to determine, and to define our own space.  It’s always there—it’s never not there, but it takes time to see it or to feel it or to be able to communicate about it.  Looking for space on the road of experience, day to day experience, looking for space.”[31]

            There can be no doubt that Denver found some of the space he was looking for in space itself, that is, in the spaciousness of nature, of Creation.  This brings us to another aspect of Creation Spirituality, the path Matthew Fox calls Via Positiva, referring to the experiences of awe, wonder, excitement, joy, pleasure and gratitude for being part of the Creation.   Likening this to what Rabbi Heschel’s called “Radical amazement,” Fox says, “…this experience is available to all of us on a daily basis, provided we are ready to undergo such ecstasies—be they nature, in our work, in relationship, in silence, in art, in lovemaking, even in times of suffering. ”[32] Even lovemaking?  Really?  Could this be why Denver likened his feelings for the love of his life to his experience of Creation in Annie’s Song?[33]


You fill up my senses

Like a night in the forest

Like the mountains in springtime

Like a walk in the rain

Like a storm in the desert

Like a sleepy blue ocean

You fill up my senses

Come fill me again


            Although this path is often considered the first experience in Creation Spirituality, I end with it because it is undeniably the place Denver’s music both begins and ends.  His love affair with Creation expresses itself in the vast majority of his songs, and it is seeing Creation through his eyes, feeling it through his heart, and hearing it in his songs, that is his greatest gift and his undying legacy.

In what I find to be one of his most moving and inspiring songs, To the Wild Country,[34] he sings about how he survives being lost in the struggle and strain of living in a culture where “There’s nothin’ wild as far as I can see;” 


Then my heart turns to Alaska

And freedom on the run

I can hear her spirit calling me

To the mountains, I can rest there

To the rivers, I will be strong

To the forests, I’ll find peace there

To the wild country, where I belong


            One of his first big hits, Rocky Mountain High, is the story of Denver’s own rebirth which happened the first Summer he lived in the Rocky Mountains and began really getting in touch with Creation through fishing, camping, hiking, watching the Perseid meteor shower, and, in his own words, “doing other things that I’d wanted to do all my life, and in the place where I most wanted to be.  Everything was new and full of possibility, and I was so happy.”[35]


He was born in the summer of his twenty-seventh year

Comin’ home to a place he’d never been before

He left yesterday behind him, you might say he was born again

You might say he found a key for every door


            Although Denver’s lyrics primarily emphasize the environment, global justice and his awe of Creation, his, like most popular songs, are essentially love songs.  The big difference is that Denver’s love wasn’t limited to the troubadourian notion of finding one true love then moving in together to set up house.  Denver’s love wasn’t about going inside, or limited to his own narcissistic needs, but about going outward, toward our neighbors and toward the Universe.  He loved the Earth, the stars, the sunshine on his shoulders, the windsong, and homegrown tomatoes.  He loved perfect strangers on the other side of the world, realizing, no matter who we are or where we live, we’re all responsible for each other.  In his song, It’s About Time,[36] for example, Denver is almost pleading with us to remember this simple truth;


There’s a man who is my brother, I just don’t know his name

But I know his home and family because I know we feel the same

And it hurts me when he’s hungry and when his children cry

I too am a father and that little one is mine


It’s about time we begin it to turn the world around

It’s about time we start to make it the dream we’ve always known

It’s about time we start to live it, the family of man

It’s about time, it’s about changes, and it’s about time

It’s about peace and it’s about plenty and it’s about time

It’s about you and me together and it’s about time


            Nor was Denver’s love exclusively anthropocentric.  Meister Eckhart said, “Every creature is a word of God and a book about God.”[37] In his book, The Universe Story, Thomas Berry has written;

In the West especially, the mystical bonding of the human with the natural world had progressively weakened.  Humans, in differing degrees, lost their capacity to hear the voices of the natural world.  They no longer heard the voices of the mountains or the valleys, the rivers or the sea, the sun, moon, or stars; they no longer had a sense of the experience communicated by the various animals, an experience that was emotional and esthetic, but even more than that. These languages of the dawn and sunset are transformations of the soul at its deepest level.[38] 

Fortunately, Denver, as a Creation mystic himself, did not lose his mystical bonding with nature and sang about his connection to Creation and creatures more often than not. 

The silver dolphins twist and dance

And sing to one another

The cosmic ocean knows no bounds

For all that live are brothers

The whippoorwill, the grizzly bear

All children of the Universe

All weavers of the tale[39]


Oh I am the eagle

I live in high country

In rocky cathedrals that reach to the sky

I am the hawk and there’s blood on my feathers

But time is still turning, they soon will be dry

And all those who see me and all who believe in me

Share in the freedom I feel when I fly[40]

I had a vision of eagles and horses

High on a ridge in a race with the wind

Going higher and higher and faster and faster

On eagles and horses I’m flying again[41]


Have you gazed out on the ocean, seen the breaching of a whale?

Have you watched the dolphins frolic in the foam?

Have you heard the song the humpback hears five hundred miles from home?

Telling tales of ancient history of passages and home?[42]


Oh the little ones

Oh the joy that I feel

Oh the love in my heart

For wilderness sounds




Denver included his own version of a wolf’s howl in his last song, Yellowstone,[43] written while shooting a film about his life with National Geographic.




Oh the Yellowstone

Oh the buffalo free

Oh my brother the Wolf

My lover the Moon

Oh the waterfalls

Oh the river that runs

Oh my brother the wind

Forever returning

Coming home

Forever belonging

Never alone


My sister the sea

Oh the ocean shore

Oh the castles of stone

Oh the mountain top

Calling to me


Oh the mystery

Oh the dreaming of dreams  Oh my brother my home  My sister my home

Oh the tenderness  Oh the longing for love  Oh the beautiful way

The sweet coming home  Owwwwooooo   Owwwwooooo


Although his life was cut tragically short, his music lives on, as does the eternal Spirit of Creation that inspired him.  He may not have been able to fulfill all his dreams—he may never have danced across the Moon—but he did fulfill his desire to give voice to the beauty he saw outside, and, through his songs, has enabled the rest of us to know what he felt inside.


Let this be a voice for the mountains

Let this be a voice for the river

Let this be a voice for the forest

Let this be voice for the flowers

Let this be a voice for the desert

Let this be a voice for the ocean

Let this be a voice for the children

Let this be a voice for the dreamers

Let this be a voice of no regret[44]




Berry, Thomas, & Swimme, Brian, The Universe Story, Harper Collins, New York, NY, 1992.


Denver, John, John Denver: The Complete Lyrics, ed., Milton Okun, Cherry Lane Music Company, New York, NY, 2002.


Fox, Matthew, Creation Spirituality, Harper Collins Publishers, New York, NY, 1991.


Fox, Matthew, Wrestling with the Prophets, Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam, New York, NY, 1995.


Michael Schut, ed., Simpler Living, Compassionate Life, The Morehouse Group, Denver, CO, 1999, 2001.


Smith, Christine, A Mountain in the Wind, An Exploration of the Spirituality of John Denver, Findhorn Press, Canada, 2001.


[1] Fox, Matthew, Creation Spirituality, Harper Collins Publishers, New York, NY, 1991, p.10.

[2] Words by Joe Henry, Music by John Denver, Cherry Lane Music Publishing Company, Inc., 1976

[3] Denver, John, John Denver: The Complete Lyrics, ed., Milton Okun, Cherry Lane Music Company, 2002, p.272.

[4] Fox, ibid., p.8.

[5] Fox, Matthew, Wrestling with the Prophets, Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam, New York, NY, 1995, p.112.

[6] Ibid., p. 91.

[7] Ibid.

[8] John Denver, Dick Kniss, Mike Taylor, Cherry Lane Music Publishing Company, Inc., 1972.

[9] Words and music by John Denver, Cherry Mountain Music, DreamWorks Songs, 1991.

[10] Fox, ibid., p.156.

[11] Fox, ibid., p.22


[13] John Denver, Dick Kniss, Mike Taylor, Cherry Lane Music Publishing Company, Inc., 1971.


[15] Words and music by John Denver, Cherry Mountain Music, DreamWorks Songs, 1986.

[16] Incidentally, Denver, who was also the first western artist allowed to do a multi-city tour in Mainland China, returned to the USSR in 1987 to do a benefit concert for the victims of Chernobyl.

[17] Words by Joe Henry and John Denver, music by John Denver, Cherry Mountain Music, DreamWorks Songs, 1990.

[18] Fox, Creation Spirituality, ibid., p.18.

[19] Words and Music by Tom Paxton, EMI U CATOLOG INC., 1970.

[20] Fox, CS, ibid., p.39.

[21] Words and music by John Denver, Cherry Mountain Music, DreamWorks Songs, 1986.

[22] Words and music by John Denver, Walt Disney Music Company, Cherry Lane Music Publishing Company, Inc., DreamWorks Songs, 1974.

[23] Denver, The Complete Lyrics, ibid., p.231.

[24] Words and Music by Bill Danoff, first recorded on the Calypso album,

[25] Fox, CS, ibid., p.75.

[26] Words and music by John Denver, Cherry Lane Music Publishing Company, Inc., DreamWorks Songs, 1982.

[27] Words by Joe Henry and John Denver, music by Lee Holdridge and John Denver, Cherry Mountain, DreamWorks Songs, 1988.

[28] Smith, Christine, A Mountain in the Wind, An Exploration of the Spirituality of John Denver, Findhorn Press, Canada, 2001, p.46.

[29] Ibid., p.47.

[30] Michael Schut, ed., Simpler Living, Compassionate Life, The Morehouse Group, Denver, CO, 1999, 2001, p.42.

[31] Denver, The Complete Lyrics, ibid., p.156.

[32] Fox, Wrestling…, ibid., p.20.

[33] Words and music by John Denver, Cherry Lane Music Publishing Company Inc., DreamWorks Songs, 1975.

[34] Words and music by John Denver, Cherry Lane Music Publishing Company, Inc., DreamWorks Songs, 1977.

[35] Denver, ibid., p.195.

[36] Words by John Denver, music by Glen Hardin and John Denver, Cherry Wind Music, DreamWorks Songs, 1983.

[37] Fox, Wrestling with the Prophets, p.33.

[38] Berry, Thomas, & Swimme, Brian, The Universe Story, Harper Collins, New York, NY, 1992, p.199.

[39] From Children of the Universe, words and music by John Denver and Joe Henry, Cherry Lane Music Publishing Company, Inc., DreamWorks Songs, 1982

[40] From The Eagle and the Hawk, words by John Denver, music by John Denver and Mike Taylor, Cherry Lane Music Publishing Company, Inc., DreamWorks Songs, 1971.

[41] From Eagles and Horses, words by John Denver, music by John Denver and Joe Henry, Cherry Lane Music Publishing Company, Inc., DreamWorks Songs, 1990.

[42] From I Want to Live, words and music by John Denver, Cherry Lane Music Publishing Company, Inc., DreamWorks Songs,  1977.

[43] Words and music by John Denver, Cherry Mountain Music, 1997.

[44] From, Amazon, ibid.