Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Perfect Songs - There's No Leaving Now

I think at some point, we all feel the weight of past decisions on us. Roads not taken can often lead to a desire to head backwards. It's real easy to talk about living a regret-free life, but the reality of that is often very different. Responsibilities pile on as you get older and that burden can become overwhelming at times. But at the end of the day, the choices you made that got you where you are, are still your choices and you actually do still have the option to do whatever the hell you want to do. It's just that the level of consequences are much heavier. Responsibility is the heaviest word. So what am I talking about here? I know, it's very vague and that's intentional. It'll make sense, though, I promise.

Yesterday, I was driving home from a long, stressful day. I would imagine at this point that it's no secret that if I could make money doing this right here, real money, I'd be much happier. But, that's clearly unrealistic. Enter The Tallest Man on Earth and this song, "There's No Leaving Now."

The first thing about this is that his lyrics are always very poetic and in many ways cryptic. It's hard to peg sometimes exactly what he's getting at and I know for fact that it's on purpose, but that there is an actual, coherent story or idea in there. I've heard this song countless times and never really could figure it out, even if the emotion of it always knocked me out. But yesterday I got my meaning and it hit me like I don't even know what. Not like some cliche, that's for sure. The majority of his songs tend to be about leaving, roaming, being free. So this one, about not being able to leave for some reason, it just stands out. Why can't he leave? Why does he want to leave? Why is it bittersweet and so god damned beautiful and somehow comforting at the same time? 

It's the last verse in particular that just stood out to me for the first time and it sort of made the whole thing click:

"will there be time to harvest rivers
that for so long refused to grow
all the little things you need to build a home
for your love
Your fear of the leading light
if they are with you and your heart won’t fail
To see through a fearless eye
and know that danger finally goes away
still you’re trying
but there’s no leaving now."

This is the most realistic take on the dynamic of parenthood and giving up parts of your self, willingly, that I've ever heard. And it doesn't even have to be parenthood, but it's what I can relate to. It's really about submitting to love. There's no leaving now, but it's ultimately not because of some external force that is trapping you into anything. It's your heart that that keeps you from "leaving" whatever that might mean. You can still try to cultivate those rivers and whatever it is that you dream about, but it's gotta be within reason, because now those dreams are ways to continue to build that home. Basically, you're just not alone anymore and that burden has changed you in a beautiful way. You know, the more I try to explain what I got from it, the more I realize there really is no point. It's in the song. It can't really be elaborated on beyond that. I feel like, if anything, I've muddied it up more, so I'll stop. It's a perfect fucking song and the fact that it takes time to realize that makes it even better. And I could be totally wrong about the whole thing anyway. But to me, that final "there's no leaving now" is not said in resignation, but rather in a small, quiet and revelatory triumph.

So, before anyone freaks out or anything, no I was never contemplating leaving my family to go pursue, I don't even know what. At all. That's kind of the point of the whole thing, is that I would never do that, even though there's really nothing physically stopping me from doing it. For starters there's no place I need to go. It's all metaphorical. But also, what would be the point of pursuing any insane, wandering the earth dream if they weren't there? No. There's no leaving now. And that, really, is the dream. 

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