Home Page Works Series 1-Quest To Be Whole Album 10-Generation Song
Prior Description Song 3 DESCRIPTION - Rip It Out Next Description
Description Quotes Music Video Equipment History Notes Comments BUY

The basic level of this song is about the loss of a family farm, and the effects of that loss across three generations.

The movement through time, seen in the changing generations of the verses, ties to the chorus changes, where the increasing focus is on how the further we are removed from being rooted, the more easily we are pushed about by fate.

"What's here now flows from all that came before" is that every living thing you see received the gift of life from their ancestors.  Every non-living thing you see was shaped by forces that predated it's existence.

"The steward gives back all that he got and more" is the heart of this song.  The very concept of the steward, apparently so alien to our modern culture, was that it was a disgrace, if not a sin, to return what had been entrusted to your care without having improved it's condition.  That it why it's not just talk for a farmer to say things like, 'It was just a mudhole when I started,' or, 'When I came here there wasn't a single tree.'  These are statements of stewardship.

The ethic of stewardship is also why bankruptcy is so exceedingly devastating to such people.  It's not a business decision to them as it generally is to a lender.  It is being judged an unworthy steward.

"Storms that came twisting found him anchored deep" is that such people dug in when adversity came instead of fleeing.  "Twisting" plays a tornado image against the experience of trying to pull something out of the ground, lending an element of intent to the storm.

"He knew what was passing and what he could keep" is that the long term mindset inherent in farming brings a perspective to life that seems greatly lacking from the modern hurry harried experience.  It is also that a wise steward clearly distinguishes between the portion of the increase which belongs to the stewardship and that which belongs to the steward.

"How can I live since being sent to roam" plays off the Biblical story of the expulsion from the Garden of Eden and off the banishment of Cain.

"By those who erased my face and took my home" is that when the farm was taken, he was no longer a steward.  More than being forced to find a new residence, he was forced to search for a new identity.

"What will my children know about the land" is the cry of anguish you almost always hear out of this circumstance.  The steward of his family has been reduced regarding what he will be able to return to them.  Further, the steward understands that stewardship is a deep way of life, and that once cut off from it his children will most likely be unable to return to this way of life.  So the farm sale marks the death of the stewardship, the end of an identity, and the loss of continuity between generations.

"That rose in the shape I made with my own hand" is that the land itself takes on the character of it's steward, making it's life his reflection.  The only comparable relationship is between parent and child.

"Grab the root and rip it out" is that the connection to place has been falling away as people leave the country for the city, trading a natural environment for an artificial one.

"Drying leaves tossed all about" is that once the root is pulled from the earth, the leaves can no longer hold their place, but fall and are driven by the wind.

"Leave a hole in heart land earth" is that pulling up a root leaves a hole in the ground.  The image here is that it leaves a void in one's heart.

"Drive me from my place of birth" reiterates the generational aspect of loss.

"Hard scrabble landmarks have been pushed aside" is that the boundaries obtained by the hard work of the little farmers have been swallowed by the corporate farms.

"The farm was no place where childhood dreams could hide" is that the dreams of this child have been yanked out of the farm.  The experience is the more wrenching because of the fixed nature of the rural life, as in the greater destruction coming from the most well established root systems.

"Bankers and government all turned their head" at the cries for help.  This is not mere hyperbole.  An Agriculture Secretary named Block came right out and said there were too many farmers.

"Get big or get out was how the pamphlet read" is that the amount of land was not going to change, obviously, so what Secretary Block had to mean was that the land should be owned and worked by fewer people.  "Pamphlet" is used here to convey the image that this attitude was not communicated face to face, or even in a manner that gave any acknowledgement of individual identity.

"Tumbling weeds just live without" roots.  Or actual life.

"Where employers say to go" is that without being rooted, people move from job to job and place to place, often at the will of someone else.

"The bruises and the breaks will only make a song" is that the wounds of working the land, in the end, have only memories to show.  "Breaks" is used in the sense of both broken bones and lucky breaks.

"Here I stand watching rainfall fill the hole" is that the land pays a price too, because what upheld the plant was also held together by the roots.

"And now understand just what became of our soul" is erosion.

"Generations will not shout" is that what the past can teach us can be, and often is, ignored.

"Once we're drifting none can see" is that being rootless has the added cost of making it impossible to understand the value of being grounded.

"Where we've been or who we'll be" is that the rootless life leaves no mark behind to show where it has been, nor has any idea where it is going, since it is pushed along at the whim of the wind.

The essence of the song lies behind the 'story' of the loss of a family farm.  Being anchored is essential for surviving the trials of life.  If your fundamental philosophy is that there is no meaning to life, from where do you draw the strength to stand when everything is against you?  If you believe in everyone for themselves, how can you help but fail when your strength proves inadequate?

The word play at the center of the song is toward abortions ripping out the heart of life.

 
Description Quotes Music Video Equipment History Notes Comments BUY
Prior Description Song 3 DESCRIPTION - Rip It Out Next Description
Home Page Works Series 1-Quest To Be Whole Album 10-Generation Song