This song is like “Country Roads”; you don’t have to be from East Texas or West Virginia to appreciate the sentiment they evoke. The songs sound like home, even if it’s not where you’re from.
I like Michelle Shocked, even though she has said and done some things that make her unlikable. Still, she has made some great music and written some beautiful songs. This song originally circulated as a homemade cassette she recorded around a campfire—crickets and popping fire included. It circulated as a bootleg and eventually she got a contract and toured and made some fine albums.
There are some transcendent characteristics of living in rural areas in America—the open wild space and the long distances from any place to another. The need for a car, nights in the woods with friends.
A friend responded to my post yesterday about memory and hugging Miles, the imaginary Miles. In The Aeneid, there is a motif of the same action– reaching out to embrace someone who is missing. She wrote this based on a couple of passages from The Aeneid for me:
“You spoke about the future and the past,
changes and history and hope and journeys.
You wanted to say more, but he was gone,
withdrawn into the tenderness of air.
You said, “Just let me hold you, let me hug you.
Don’t take yourself away from me.” You said it,
Your face all wet with crying.
Three times you tried to put your arms around him,
three times the image you embraced slipped from your arms,
like breezes, or most like a fleeting dream.”