We play a version of 'Graven Wood', an old Clientele song written by Innes Phillips, on Minneapolis Public Radio, and listening to it today as we wearily drive down to Chicago, it sounds magical, perfectly echoing the drab, grey copses and snow-littered fields passing by the window. We also played it live at the show, and I enjoyed explaining the origins of the song; four of us in a wood clearing as dusk fell, coming down off a heavy dose of er.. illegals, the world was a beautiful and frigid autumn red, the rhoddodendrons sheltering us from distantly passing cars, a sense of dread just barely creeping into the scene. Innes later told me this was not what he wrote the song about at all, I misunderstood, but for me it still spells out this moment perfectly, the peak of a magical and unreal phase of my life, a group of adolescents in the countryside, each beginning to face the fact that people aren't safe after all.
The skies are so big here that it's been comparatively easy to tell the time and the direction we are travelling in just from the movement of the sun. I've also been watching the moon rise and fall, move left and right, as we travelled further and the days went by; it gives more of a sense of the complex orbits and rotations of the earth. It's the first time in my life I've thought about this. As we travel East, back across the country, I can estimate how many hours of daylight we have left as the sun sinks across to the West, and how enthusiastically I should attack the Proust I've brought with me, before darkness silences his magisterial voice.