I wrote this song while I was living in L.A…. What is the gold time? I guess it is a time of fulfillment and completion, when all the trials a person has been through begin to pay off and their meaning is revealed. It is the idea that everything, given enough time, eventually becomes something of great value. Gold is also the color of permanence… a person searches and searches, but when they finally find what they have been looking for, that is the gold time.
In high school we read Walt Whitman’s poem, “Good-bye my Fancy”, and it struck a deep chord with me. In a way, I think of this song as being a similar story, but told from the perspective of the Fancy, rather than the man.
Good-bye my Fancy
Good-bye my Fancy!
Farewell dear mate, dear love!
I’m going away, I know not where,
Or to what fortune, or whether I may ever see you again,
So Good-bye my Fancy.
Now for my last–let me look back a moment;
The slower fainter ticking of the clock is in me,
Exit, nightfall, and soon the heart-thud stopping.
Long have we lived, joy’d, caress’d together;
Delightful!–now separation–Good-bye my Fancy.
Yet let me not be too hasty,
Long indeed have we lived, slept, filter’d, become really blended
Then if we die we die together, (yes, we’ll remain one,)
If we go anywhere we’ll go together to meet what happens,
May-be we’ll be better off and blither, and learn something,
May-be it is yourself now really ushering me to the true songs, (who
May-be it is you the mortal knob really undoing, turning–so now finally,
Good-bye–and hail! my Fancy.
This song was inspired by Reinhold Messner’s “The Crystal Horizon,” a book about the first solo ascent up Mount Everest, but also, metaphorically, about the challenges a person can faces while trying to follow their own path and be true to themselves. The loneliness, guilt, and doubt, but also the exhilaration.
To me, crystals, mountains, and ice all represent that place of individuality and isolation… whereas valleys represent the warmth and comfort that comes from merging with others and following a more well-trodden path. But hopefully, when a person does come down into the valley, it will be to nourish and renew themselves, not to donate blood to a wandering mercenary.
Back in the day, there was one Greek philosopher who believed everything is made of fire, one who believed everything is made of air, one who believed everything is made of water, and one who believed everything is made of earth. The one who believed everything is made of fire also believed that change and impermanence are the true nature of life (a common belief today as well). The one who believed everything is made of earth believed that nothing ever changes and that permanence is the true nature of life.
Perhaps there is one layer of life which is constantly in flux, and perhaps this layer tends to grab our attention because of its unpredictable, dramatic, and anxiety-producing nature. But beneath that, isn’t there also something so constant and steady, so soft and reassuring, that it is easy for us to forget it is even there?
This song is about that realm of comfort that lies beneath the more teetering aspects of our lives- the element of Earth!!
Another song about someone dying from hypothermia. It was inspired by this magazine cover…
Why do I like songs about people dying from hypothermia? Because as humans, we need our world to stay just the right temperature. We lose our ability to live if things get too hot or too cold. Sometimes, we compensate for an excess of warmth or an excess of coldness in ways that prove detrimental to us later… for example, if our lives feel too cold we might engage in excessive risk taking or drama making, or if things feel too hot and chaotic we might isolate ourselves and hide behind a computer screen.
But, there is only so much we can compensate for, and eventually these hostile forces overtake us. When there is not enough love and nobody seems to care about us, we can compensate for a while, but eventually the ice creeps into our soul and we lose the ability to move, to reach out, to feel, to care, and finally even the will to live is extinguished.
It makes me think of the following poem by Robert Frost:
Fire and Ice
Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.