Sunday, May 12, 2013

Shores and Mountains and Mothers

    I went to Whidbey island recently and stayed in a cabin with friends. I just saw the movie 'Cabin in the Woods' and it was nothing like that. Partly because we were not in the woods (if we were, who knows what would have happened!), we were along the shore but also there were no incidents involving the 'undead.' Here are some photos showing the view from the cabin.








    Today is Mother's Day so happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there especially my own amazing mom! Mother's day got me thinking about an especially beautiful song by 'Iron and Wine.' It is one of my favorite songs by Iron and Wine (and really just a favorite in general) and is called 'Upward Over the Mountain.' The way I have always interpreted this song is that it is about how mothers and sons (or parents and their children) protect each other in different ways, especially as children grow older. Parents protect us in obvious ways by protecting us from pain and suffering. Also by giving us shelter and love and the things we need to survive. But children protect  their parents in subtler ways- by easing their parent's worry and by assuring their parents that they are okay. In the song the narrator repeats 'mother don't worry' with some line reassuring her that he is okay. He sings  'Mother don't worry I've killed the last snake that lives in the creek bed.' I imagine that his mother would chide him for playing in the creek because she was concerned he might be bitten by a snake. But the son has killed the last snake, so now his mother does not have to worry about that potential danger. He also says 'Mother don't worry I've got a coat and some friends on the corner.' I think it is universal for children (teenage children especially) to begrudgingly wear their coat not to protect themselves from cold but instead to protect their parents from worry. Another thing the song explores is the way children's view of their parents shift which in turn causes children's need to protect their parents. When we are young, we see our parents as strong and infallible. But as we grow older we realize they are human and have their own vulnerabilities. In the song he sings "Mother, remember the night that the dog had her pups in the pantry? Blood on the floor and the fleas on their paws and you cried 'til the morning." I always thought that the story in these lines is that either the puppies or the mom-dog died and the mother is so devastated that she cannot stop crying over the loss. This is where the son's view of his mother shifts so he sees her as vulnerable and in need of protection. Through this mutual protection of each other the mom and her son are showing their love for each other.  But then despite this need to keep each other safe, both people also have to let go. The mother needs to let her son be free. The son needs the freedom to explore the world and potentially expose himself to danger. This is being said in the song with the lyrics "so may the sunrise bring hope where it once was forgotten, sons are like birds flying upward over the mountain,  sons can be birds, taken broken up to the mountain, sons are like birds flying always over the mountain."  While looking online, I saw lots of different interpretations of this song all with good arguments for their interpretations. But even if this is not what Sam Beam meant when he wrote this song, this is what this song will always mean to me. 

6 comments :

Optimistic Existentialist said...

I really love the way you interpret that song. You have a poetic way of looking tt things.

Amber @ Fauna Finds Flora said...

Thanks! That's very sweet that you think so.

Mom said...

What beautiful words you write. What a beautiful person you are. Love you, Mom

Amber @ Fauna Finds Flora said...

Thanks Mom! That is kind of you to say so, although I feel like I have been given far to much credit for interpreting someone else's beautiful words.

Jenn said...

Looks like a beautiful spot!

Amber @ Fauna Finds Flora said...

Jenn- It definitely was beautiful! I wish I was there today.