I wrote this song four years ago when I was at a study program in Nashville called the Contemporary Music Center. It is one of my favorite songs to play solo as well as with a band. It is not very musically complicated but I feel that it can translate well in different contexts.
The main inspiration for this song is a movie called The Mission, starring Robert De Niro and Jeremy Irons. The story takes place in 18th century South America and focuses on the efforts of a Jesuit priest trying to convert the local population. It brings to light issues such as colonialism and the nasty part that religion plays in conquest.
In the opening scene, a priest is shown floating down a river tied to a cross. The river eventually flows to a massive waterfall and the priest falls down to his death.
For whatever reason, the imagery of a massive waterfall really stuck with me. It got me thinking about death. I am afraid of death (who isn’t?) I would give anything to postpone it. I pictured myself on a rock, near the falls.
I find myself on a rock’s cold face Where a current’s waves do me in All by myself at the water’s end Where the clouds descend
The sheer power of millions of gallons of water flowing freely down a massive drop is both terrifying and beautiful. I feel that way about death too. The imagery then evoked a sense of wonder - what is on the other side of the fall. Sure, death awaits, but what will it be like there? I am tired of holding on to this rock in the middle of a pounding river.
I pictured someone or something calling me to let go of the rock and trust.
You beckon me I fear, I’ll fall
The more I think about it, the more it terrifies me.
Nowhere to go, soulless waves on all sides The darkness yearns to be alive, I see his face
I’m terrified, yet conflicted. I’m not supposed to be here - living a life using all my energy to hold on to a rock. I wasn’t made to fight the relentless stream of time that will eventually take me to my death, but I don't want to go.
Please take me home, this heart was not meant for these bones But I don’t want to die here alone, I’ll fight or I’ll face the unknown The fear that I’ll fall
The bridge is a realization that there is nothing I can do about it.
It’s not my choice anymore I hear the creaking of death’s door Singing out above the water’s roar
Ultimately, death will win, but that is not the point. A life spent fighting death is one that will not truly be lived. I was made for something more than what I can see.
This is one of the few songs that I have seen go through the writing, pre-production, and production processes, changing a little bit each step.