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Monday, July 04, 2011

Summer Skin

by Death Cab for Cutie

Squeaky swings and tall grass
The longest shadows ever cast
The water's warm and children swim
And we frolicked about in our summer skin

I don't recall a single care
Just greenery and humid air
Then Labor day came and went
And we shed what was left of our summer skin

On the night you left I came over
And we peeled the freckles from our shoulders
Our brand new coats were so flushed and pink
And I knew your heart I couldn't win
Cause the season's change was a conduit
And we left our love in our summer skin

I recently started re-listening to the album "Plans" by Seattle band Death Cab for Cutie.

I've been particularly taken by the lyrics of Summer Skin, a song that (as far as I understand, but happy to be corrected) tells the story of a summer romance. "Squeaky swings and tall grass
The longest shadows ever cast". I love the simpleness of the imagery in this song - shedding skin, sunlight, shadows and changing seasons. "I don't recall a single care". In three short paragraphs, the memory seems perfectly tangible.

I have been thinking a lot recently about the passing of time, and perhaps, in the midst of it all, that's another reason why this particular song has brushed up against me.

I love the way the lyrics manage to convey the passing of time, both in the sense that whatever romance it is that the song is about now seems a very long time ago, but also that, viewed with hindsight, the memories of that summer seem now to be somehow suspended - or endless - just as those individual summer days themselves seemed suspended and endless. They were timeless, in the sense that they were without time. Timeless, right up until we realised that, despite it all, time would of course continue to tick on. Endless, right up until the point that they ended, like the dying summer evening sun, that it seems will never die, until finally it does give in, and slips below the horizon.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yes, that's it an always within never."I have just finished reading The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery. A must read.I won't attempt to tell of the plot , sufficient to say it has a confronting conclusion. It involves a death and then this reflection or "profound thought."
"But when someone that you love dies...all of a sudden all possibility just vanishes! I have finally concluded, maybe that is what life is about: there's lots of despair, but also the odd moment of beauty, where time is no longer the same.It's as if the strains of music (read: song)created a sort of interlude in time, something suspended, an elsewhere that had come to us, an always within never.