Saturday, October 1, 2011

An analysis of October Road, as sung by James Taylor

It's the first of October, and the closing image of Thomas H. Cook's The City When It Rains, which I reviewed recently, comes again to mind and lingers.  The protagonist sees emptiness above him and emptiness below, but asserts that he's still standing.  It is an existential paragraph, a conscious thought, tentative yet positive, with a note of grace.  Thankful for this.  Transcendental.

October's yellow light is a fading light, the year is dying.  We hate to see that evening sun go down, but the awareness of approaching Death makes us reject empty materialism and want to get back to what's really important.  It makes us more appreciative of the time we have left, here and now, in this paradise.  We want to spend this time with those we love.

This morning we're listening to that recording of James Taylor's voice, as he sings his song, October Road.  The sun going down symbolizes death, the moon suggests the collective unconscious, and the pine represents the evergreen, the eternal.

Taylor's voice sounds like the natural harmonica of the season.  We're thankful for this too.  I remixed it myself on a homemade CD several Octobers ago.  It stands the test of time:

Well I'm-a going back down maybe one more time,
deep down home,
October road.
And I might like to see that little friend of mine

that I left behind
once upon a time.
Oh, promised land

and me still standing,
it's a test of time,
it's a real good sign.

Let the sun run down right behind the hill,
I know how to stand there still

till the moon rise up right behind the pine,
oh, Lord,
October road.

It's the big-time life that I can't abide,

raise my rent, tan my hide.
Sweet call

of the countryside,
go down slow,
open wide.

Oh, promised land,
and me still standing.
It's a test of time.
It's a real good sign.

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