On the surface of it, ‘Sunset Road‘, the free single from my album, ‘Not All the Leaves are Falling‘, is a description of the autumn landscape on my Tauranga city to Maketu farm commute as I let go of the demands of work and head for home.
However, below this surface reading, there is a deeper well of experiences and ideas that gathered together into this particular combination of words and melody.
Leave-taking & Homecoming
For me, the soul of this song is about me making peace with coming home to New Zealand. I was 19 when I moved to Sydney and I spent my individuating and formative 20’s in its bright glow. There was a time when I said I would never come home to New Zealand. I came home in crisis in 2008, a reluctant returner and it took me time to learn to love the terrain of my childhood again and to make peace with my homecoming.
“I am happy living here in the shadow of these hills” is a statement I could never have said in the early years. That it bubbled out of me honestly in this song six years later is testament to the homecoming journey having done its work deep inside me.
Nature As Character
In my busy 20’s, nature for me was setting, scenery, a vague blur in the background of the real action. Trees were stage props which I was blind to in all honesty! In the last seven years, I have changed. I no longer perceive nature as simply a setting in this story but as a central character in the drama of human life. Trees and flowers now keep me company in the way that friends do.
I am learning to detect the shimmering vitality of Divine Presence within the trees, plants and flowers that surround me. They keep me company in gentle and life-giving ways, shooting colour through my soul and fresh steadiness into my bones. (Read: The Secret Life of Trees)