weekend song | The Tree By The River

Iron & Wine's Kiss Eachother Clean came out in 2011, when I was living in my studio apartment in Portland with Eli. We both loved that album; listened to it all the way through, nonstop, on Saturday mornings while I swept the checkered linoleum floors and he made coffee in the french press. It's one of the albums that feels so tied to a person, to a place -- to my life at 23.  I hadn't listened to it much since then. Not out of avoidance or anything. The songs just weren't living to me anymore. They were artifacts. 

I was sitting on the back porch last summer, while the man I'm dating now was inside playing guitar. The windows were open and the music came out. And, I recognized the song ... but just barely. It didn't sound anything like the boppy, upbeat version from the record. A song about two people who grow up and grow apart, and eventually into a different relationship. really, a different life. 
Time isn't kind or unkind you used to say, but I wonder to who.
and what it is you're saying today. 

It knocked the wind out of me. I thought of all the times we'd listened to that song and how I'd never really heard the words before. It sounded just like kind of agnostic thing Eli would say. For a flash of a moment, all the space that separated now from then collapsed in on itself. And all I could see was us there, in that apartment, listening to this song and not knowing (or maybe, always knowing) how we'd be strangers someday. 

How, eventually, we wouldn't even think about each other much anymore.  Except for after the occasional pang, from the sharp corner of the empty space.

(listen) Iron & Wine - Tree by the River (photo) on expired film | the alley along Mississippi Ave, 2011. 


  1. "Except for after the occasional pang, from the sharp corner of the empty space" - oh, oh, OH, do I recognise that. And how truly and beautifully you put it. This whole post is gorgeous - sweetly nostalgic, full of light and shadows - it reminds me of the way the sun comes slanting in through blinds to stripe the floor, that contrast of light and shadow, past and present, memory and now. And is there ANYTHING so evocative as music? Just lovely.

  2. Ugh please write a book. Please please. You write so beautifully.

  3. This took my breath away, I can really relate to the way songs paint a moment. x

  4. this is perfect. this really spoke to me; there are songs that i used to listen to with past boyfriends, that now mean so much more. you only notice certain lyrics when they mean something to you.

    love your blog! x


Thank you so much for commenting, Darling Reader! I read + love each and every one of them. (Anonymous commenting has been turned off due to robots)

ashore All rights reserved © Blog Milk Powered by Blogger