Generous Shadows

by The Tree Ring

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released February 15, 2011

Joel P West
Kelly Bennett
Douglas Welcome
Darla Hawn
Travis Maril
Jon Titterington

Written, Arranged, and Produced by Joel P West with The Tree Ring
Recorded by Chris Hobson in Idyllwild, California
Mixed by Birgir Jón Birgirson in Mossfellsbær, Iceland
Mastered by T.W. Walsh in Boston, Massachusetts
Artwork and Design by Joel P West


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Hey Amigo Recording Co. Portland, Oregon

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Track Name: Haida
Quiet fog
Wraps its arms
Round redwood bark
The end of its whisper is the moment color starts

The roots reach west
And push through the fragments that the souls before them left
As tender pelt
The start of the river is the end of something else
Under the wild earth

I’m standing with my feet in the sea
Asking what does this world owe me?
Track Name: Dreams Where I Am Sleeping
Oh these voices get so loud
They fill the house
And I can't shut them out
I can’t face my doubt
Without the sound
Of the pine boughs
Calling down
From out where no one needs me
The trees are breathing I am breathing
We carry out our blind agreement
And never once consider needs beyond the bounds of reason

All these people I don’t know
They look so warm
Inside their glowing windows
And I wonder how they are so sure
Of what they've learned
Or if they have
No concern
For why the days keep passing by
The sky is weeping I am weeping
I have these dreams where I am sleeping
And when I wake up I can never tell what I am feeling
With no one next to me to see it

I waited all day to escape this crowded room
Then I missed you
I walked to where the plow had stopped and I knew
If I laid down and died I’d still be giving and taking something

I watched her breath become a ghost
Just a year ago
Above the sidewalk snow
The cold’s so cold when you’re alone
I had froze
I was hollow
So I pulled in close
Out where no one knew me
The dawn is grieving I am grieving
For things that I used to believe in
So I huddle close to anyone that I remember needing
Track Name: River Mouths
In the calm, in the stillness of a quiet sunless dawn
In the flow, in the motion of the lazy rain-speckled river
Our tethered essence shed a restless mess of thought
And the silence formed us
Seamless clouds
Teach our mouths
All the breathless sounds

And then when all our clothes were soaked we walked down to the the edge
To look down at the surface where our modest thin reflections stutter
And when we saw them we jumped in

Our fear can only see
The things that men have told us to be
So we shake the sacred things
Like sparrows shaking rain from their wings
They mold all our bones
They sold all our holy water

While we prayed for a break from the grey
The banks rose and sank all day
There is no clearer thing I have seen
Than these chests rising and sinking
Track Name: Song for H. Korth
I cannot hear the old earth breathe
Through the loose leaves
I can only hear machines
Sustain the city
And the motion of my body's aligned with the way they are designed
Stiff and instructed

The rain is blistering on the glass
And slowly pushing
Towards cherry blossoms clinging where
The wipers cannot reach them
I'm safe inside the walls of of my skin, they won't let the water in
Every time the earth's reimbursed I remember who I am
Fragile and fortunate

I cannot remember when
I started to believe in
Imaginary ties between
Comfort and contentment

A dog will eat all it's fed
And hunt a stick time and time again
Is the coyote less content
On a cold night, sleeping with no bed
Did our instincts lose mystery
When we assigned them vocabulary
It's tragic
We are small things, what are we if we're not that?
Track Name: The Good Ones
Lazy blinds cast homely stripes on the wood floor
And the voices of my friends sneak small under my door
I'm longing for the night
Because the sudden light
Illuminates the greedy ways I live by

Sorry I'm so cold I’ve had some dark thoughts
But I hold in your warmth for hours like a sidewalk
Who am I but the sum of the love in my life?
My heart is reckless
My heart is sly
My heart is prodigal saved by the good ones
Track Name: Like Diamonds
The snow looked like diamonds
Falling through the bones of the aspens
And time slowed down
We could see only as deep
As flickers from the blue porch light could reach
We stared out
With no doubt
It went on for miles

But my god there is darkness
More and more with our progress
It runs in our blood
But then some promised fortune
Gives our reticent lungs instructions
To gather and drain
And gather and drain
And fight death all day
With our hope
Track Name: The Uninvited Grey
We thought that the summer'd never come
Waiting for weeks without the sun
Grieving with everyone
Shaking our heads in conversation
So we scrambled for any sort of way
To protest the uninvited grey
But nothing that we could say
Could made it meet our presumptions
And so we resigned to pass the time
Under a gift
That we didn't like

When we are afraid we turn to words
Of men who had no more time on earth than us
And no better feeling when
They woke up on mornings after they had wondered why they were alive
And gave into awful things deep in the night
Tired and haunted
By all the holes
That nobody's ever known
What would we
Do without them?
Track Name: Wore It Deep
The wind came like voices in the afternoon
With the scotchbroom waving gold in bloom
And the river wore the sky's deep blue
So we wore it deep too

The day turned to leave us but we held it in
You could see it red inside our skin
Turning white beneath our fingerprints
And hot against cotton of bedsheets and garments
Under a sea of stars we're both dark from ours

The morning sang slowly to a different tune
With the sky tired in a blustery blue
We woke up tired and blustery too
Heads in the deepest grey
Swallowed up by the daybreak
And dressed in our oldest memories, grateful

All the light in our homes
Forms all we know
Buried in moments between moments
Is the color of hope
Track Name: Lights Out
We're losing sight
The day is shaking hands with
The coming night
Wringing out the western sky
Of the last few drops of light
The clouds are thin
A sky of violet and peach
And the hottest wind
Is blowing off the Chesapeake
Only in the evening do these colors gather in
Such quantity
They throw a tender lighting
On the westward side
Of every upright form we see
Making symphonies of even the most common things
The tide is soft
But the water too dark to trust
Our words are hushed
By cicadas buzzing in the high heat
Bleeding off the fevered trees
That we stood underneath

The strangers turn
And wave from old brick porches
As though they'd heard
The heavy words said on the road
When you said you just did not know anymore
And the car got small
Our eyes stayed straight forward
That was all
That we had left
Because the whole day
We were asking why, why, why
Until our throats were dry
Then we stepped out
Aimless in the brilliant night
And stared so deep in love
With our lives
Track Name: Generous Shadows
These glaring windows
This cardinal darkness
These generous shadows
Sparse but enough

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