03. MUSIC INSPIRATION
In the Woods Somewhere
I really like this song. There is some interesting symbology within the lyrics which I relate to a period of my life where I “disappeared.” I am a very introverted person, I often get lost inside my mind. Lost in thought. Sometimes feeling quite dissociated from the world and other people. This is not always a negative thing. Sometimes I am lost in thought because I am pondering questions I want to answer, exploring abstract ideas. It depends what frame of mind I am in and what I am thinking about at the time.
What I hope to convey with this song choice is the idea of losing oneself completely in a very negative way. Essentially an emotional, “spiritual” and psychological death. Followed by an awakening or rebirth. Disappearing into the dark and reappearing as a new person.
I have gone through several periods of depression in my life. The worst of which was a little over a year ago now. Something happened in my personal life which caused me a tremendous amount of emotional pain and I snapped. I went completely within myself. I completely “disappeared”.
I was lost in the depths of my mind. The person I was before was just gone. Dead. Only a ghost of him remained. Through this period I become more and more separated from the outside world. Alienated from friends and family. I even lost my job. I just didn’t care enough. The outside world didn’t matter to me anymore. When in this sort of psychological state, everything outside of oneself is hardly even there. It is like being in a fog. Everything is muffled and blurred. In fact I would say I was so far inside of my own mind that I even felt disconnected from my body. My physical body didn’t even matter to me. It was barely even there. I was so far gone that I didn’t even care to eat.
I think many of us feel a mild version of this quite often. Especially people who are both very introverted and intuitive. But this was extreme. An extreme manifestation of the “usual” feeling of being disconnected. Out of sync. Exacerbated by a very deep depression and emotional pain.
Listening to the song my interpretation of the lyrics and also the the general mood is one of a symbolic death and rebirth. In my view particularly relating to psychological change. I believe that there is an element of the human psyche that can die and come back again. Multiple times depending on ones experiences through life. That is what happens to you when you encounter a catastrophe. Something so damaging that your mind dissolves into chaos. You “disappear” into the darkness and only reappear again once you make order of things.
I will now go through the lyrics of the song itself, breaking them into sections and giving my interpretation for each. It would be a good idea to listen to the song as you read the lyrics to conjure up in your own mind the imagery being described here. The general sound of the song is important to this interpretation. To me it sounds dark and painful. The heavy beat which varies throughout the song in its intensity also really sets the mood of the song. Let’s begin.
My head was war,
My skin was soaked,
I called your name 'til the fever broke.
The descriptive language used in this first section I feel relates to a “sickness” or an acute negative pain. Soaked skin, “I called your name 'til the fever broke” a calling, something is lost? Someone is lost? A loss of self.
When I awoke,
The moon still hung,
The night so black that the darkness hums.
The initial shock of what caused the pain has ended but upon “awakening” (perhaps literally awaking from sleep) there is a feeling of disappointment. Nothing has changed. The darkness hums. The pain endures.
I raised myself,
My legs were weak,
I prayed my mind be good to me.
To me this section speaks of an internal struggle to power. A will to power. To survive. He doesn’t want to give up. His “self” is dying. He knows it and he tries to “rise to his feet” metaphorically speaking. He hopes he has the strength to carry on. He wants to stand up tall again.
An awful noise,
Filled the air,
I heard a scream,
In the woods somewhere.
More pain. A forest or woodland to me in this interpretation is symbolic of the mind. “An awful noise fills the air”, a “scream in the woods somewhere.” A scream from within his mind.
A woman's voice!
I quickly ran,
Into the trees with empty hands.
This part could be interpreted in a couple of different ways. “A woman’s voice!” This could be about a specific woman. Someone loved and lost. Or more widely, a symbolic meaning, possibly not an actual woman at all, but instead what a woman can represent. The feminine archetype in symbology across cultures often represents the unknown, or potential. For love, or for life itself. It is the unknown that manifests the new.
“I quickly ran, into the trees with empty hands” he is going deeper into his mind. Towards this idea. Empty hands could suggest a kind of nakedness or vulnerability. Defencelessness. He his “baring his soul” to the feminine part of his mind. To “the unknown” It is impossible to venture into the unknown without making oneself vulnerable. In the unknown there is potential. But there is also danger.
A fox it was,
He shook afraid.
I spoke no words,
No sound he made.
His bone exposed,
His hind was lame.
I raised a stone to end his pain.
To me this is the narrator encountering himself. Or at least a part of himself. It is a part of his psyche that is injured and afraid. Fragile and fragmented. Possibly even his innocence or Inner child. He is wounded. “His bone exposed, his hind was lame, I raised a stone to end his pain.” My interpretation of this is a suggestion of suicide. Too much damage has been done and he has decided the only thing he can do is to end his own pain my ending his life completely.
What caused the wound?
How large the teeth?
I saw new eyes were watching me.
The creature lunged.
I turned and ran,
To save a life I didn't have.
Remembering that this interpretation is the idea of being lost in ones mind, an exploration “into the woods” the woods being the psyche.
This part starts with a question, or more accurately a thought. “What caused the wound?” He is questioning himself. How did he get here? What caused this pain? He is searching for answers. “I saw new eyes are watching me.” Something is lurking in the shadows of his mind...or perhaps he is seeing himself through new eyes. The “new eyes” watching him are his own. Just another part of himself. The darker part, the parts of himself that he doesn’t usually acknowledge. For me the creature here represents two things. One is depression. Depression is the creature that has caused him this pain..but it is also more than that. It is deeper than that. It represents the “shadow self”. The darker parts of the psyche. The cause of his depression. He is seeing himself. That ultimately it is him (or his shadow which is a part of himself)
that has caused him this pain. He is the victim AND the villain. It is hard to look at the darker parts of oneself but it is also where you can find the most growth. The things you need to face are usually precisely where you don’t want to look. This realization is very difficult however.
So he runs from it at first. To save “himself”. To “Save a life I didn’t have” the change is difficult. He wants to go back to the man he was. But he can’t. That person is gone..that time is gone. Also now that he has seen himself. All of himself, there is no way back. He cannot save his old life or “old self” he is gone.
Dear, in the chase,
There as I flew,
Forgot all prayers of joining you.
This part again could be referring to a specific woman. The same one from earlier in the song. “There as I flew, forgot all prayers of joining you”He is “flying” through his mind. Deeper into the woods. So intwined with his shadow that he forgot or gave up all hope of joining this woman or gave up hope completely. All thoughts of the potential of love or life were consumed. Replaced by only thoughts of fighting his shadow. Of making order from the chaos. He has truly disappeared now and when he reappears he will not be the same animal.
I clutched my life,
And wished it kept.
My dearest love,
I'm not done yet.
He has stopped running. He is holding onto himself. “My dearest love” Again appealing to the woman. Or to the potential of life itself. “I’m not done yet” He sounds defiant in this section. He is slowly regaining himself. He is refusing to give up.
How many years,
I know I'll bear.
I found something in the woods somewhere.
This last part could be interpreted in a couple of different ways but to me it is again him feeling defiant or stronger. Especially when you take into account how the mood in the last portions of the song changes. It sounds more aggressive. “How many years, I know I’ll bear” Whatever is ahead of him he knows he can bear it. “I found something in the woods somewhere.”
He nearly didn’t make it. He came close to ending his pain. To ending his life and “disappearing” completely. But he chose instead to face the darkness. To face the pain. To face himself. To go deeper into the trees and Integrate with his shadow.
By disappearing into the woods (his mind) he managed to find himself and then reappear again as a new person. He has won the battle with himself. He has made order from the chaos and has climbed back up out from the darkness. Transformed.