Generous Shadows

by The Tree Ring

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1.
04:26
Quiet fog Wraps its arms Round redwood bark The end of its whisper is the moment color starts The roots reach west And push through the fragments that the souls before them left As tender pelt The start of the river is the end of something else Under the wild earth I’m standing with my feet in the sea Asking what does this world owe me?
2.
Oh these voices get so loud They fill the house And I can't shut them out I can’t face my doubt Without the sound Of the pine boughs Calling down From out where no one needs me The trees are breathing I am breathing We carry out our blind agreement And never once consider needs beyond the bounds of reason All these people I don’t know They look so warm Inside their glowing windows And I wonder how they are so sure Of what they've learned Or if they have No concern For why the days keep passing by The sky is weeping I am weeping I have these dreams where I am sleeping And when I wake up I can never tell what I am feeling With no one next to me to see it I waited all day to escape this crowded room Then I missed you I walked to where the plow had stopped and I knew If I laid down and died I’d still be giving and taking something I watched her breath become a ghost Just a year ago Above the sidewalk snow The cold’s so cold when you’re alone I had froze I was hollow So I pulled in close Out where no one knew me The dawn is grieving I am grieving For things that I used to believe in So I huddle close to anyone that I remember needing
3.
05:30
In the calm, in the stillness of a quiet sunless dawn In the flow, in the motion of the lazy rain-speckled river Our tethered essence shed a restless mess of thought And the silence formed us Seamless clouds Teach our mouths All the breathless sounds And then when all our clothes were soaked we walked down to the the edge To look down at the surface where our modest thin reflections stutter And when we saw them we jumped in Our fear can only see The things that men have told us to be So we shake the sacred things Like sparrows shaking rain from their wings They mold all our bones They sold all our holy water While we prayed for a break from the grey The banks rose and sank all day There is no clearer thing I have seen Than these chests rising and sinking
4.
I cannot hear the old earth breathe Through the loose leaves I can only hear machines Sustain the city And the motion of my body's aligned with the way they are designed Stiff and instructed The rain is blistering on the glass And slowly pushing Towards cherry blossoms clinging where The wipers cannot reach them I'm safe inside the walls of of my skin, they won't let the water in Every time the earth's reimbursed I remember who I am Fragile and fortunate I cannot remember when I started to believe in Imaginary ties between Comfort and contentment A dog will eat all it's fed And hunt a stick time and time again Is the coyote less content On a cold night, sleeping with no bed Did our instincts lose mystery When we assigned them vocabulary It's tragic We are small things, what are we if we're not that?
5.
Lazy blinds cast homely stripes on the wood floor And the voices of my friends sneak small under my door I'm longing for the night Because the sudden light Illuminates the greedy ways I live by Sorry I'm so cold I’ve had some dark thoughts But I hold in your warmth for hours like a sidewalk Who am I but the sum of the love in my life? My heart is reckless My heart is sly My heart is prodigal saved by the good ones
6.
The snow looked like diamonds Falling through the bones of the aspens And time slowed down We could see only as deep As flickers from the blue porch light could reach We stared out With no doubt It went on for miles But my god there is darkness More and more with our progress It runs in our blood But then some promised fortune Gives our reticent lungs instructions To gather and drain And gather and drain And fight death all day With our hope
7.
We thought that the summer'd never come Waiting for weeks without the sun Grieving with everyone Shaking our heads in conversation So we scrambled for any sort of way To protest the uninvited grey But nothing that we could say Could made it meet our presumptions And so we resigned to pass the time Under a gift That we didn't like When we are afraid we turn to words Of men who had no more time on earth than us And no better feeling when They woke up on mornings after they had wondered why they were alive And gave into awful things deep in the night Tired and haunted By all the holes That nobody's ever known What would we Do without them?
8.
04:39
The wind came like voices in the afternoon With the scotchbroom waving gold in bloom And the river wore the sky's deep blue So we wore it deep too The day turned to leave us but we held it in You could see it red inside our skin Turning white beneath our fingerprints And hot against cotton of bedsheets and garments Under a sea of stars we're both dark from ours The morning sang slowly to a different tune With the sky tired in a blustery blue We woke up tired and blustery too Heads in the deepest grey Swallowed up by the daybreak And dressed in our oldest memories, grateful All the light in our homes Forms all we know Buried in moments between moments Is the color of hope
9.
04:10
We're losing sight The day is shaking hands with The coming night Wringing out the western sky Of the last few drops of light The clouds are thin A sky of violet and peach And the hottest wind Is blowing off the Chesapeake Only in the evening do these colors gather in Such quantity They throw a tender lighting On the westward side Of every upright form we see Making symphonies of even the most common things The tide is soft But the water too dark to trust Our words are hushed By cicadas buzzing in the high heat Bleeding off the fevered trees That we stood underneath Quietly The strangers turn And wave from old brick porches As though they'd heard The heavy words said on the road When you said you just did not know anymore And the car got small Our eyes stayed straight forward That was all That we had left Because the whole day We were asking why, why, why Until our throats were dry Then we stepped out Aimless in the brilliant night And stared so deep in love With our lives
10.
These glaring windows This cardinal darkness These generous shadows Sparse but enough

credits

released February 15, 2011

THE TREE RING IS
Joel P West
Kelly Bennett
Douglas Welcome
Darla Hawn

Guests on this Recording:

Travis Maril, Viola (4, 6, 7, 9, 10)
Jon Titterington, Trumpet (2, 4, 5)

Written, Arranged, and Produced by Joel P West with The Tree Ring
Recorded by Chris Hobson in Idyllwild, California
Mixed by Birgir Jón Birgirson in Mossfellsbær, Iceland
Mastered by T.W. Walsh in Boston, Massachusetts
Artwork and Design by Joel P West

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The Tree Ring San Diego, California

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