A Burning House

from by lower lights burning

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    Coming Back CD in sleeve with lyric insert. Artwork by No Theft.

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    Coming Back on 12" vinyl in sleeve with lyric insert.
    Art work by No Theft.
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about

The problem with moving forward is that we have to leave something behind. For some people this prospect is easy, even exciting. But for a lot of us it’s more difficult and for others it can be practically paralyzing.
A Burning House is a picture of someone who needs to move on. Someone who is so comfortable and “stable” that it has become unhealthy now for them. The very heart of nature shows that in order to grow, old things must die. In fact, many times it is the death of “what was” that nurtures the life that continues on.
The picture in the first verse is of someone who is “All locked up tight in our lovely house, so safe now there’s no way out” and who is trying to keep that supposed security forever, no matter the cost.
The third verse is a picture, a glimpse of what the character is missing while he’s fighting to stay huddled in supposed safety. “The whole wide world, the sky and sea, could all be ours if I would leave; but it’s so safe in here I can barely breath.” And here is the crux: the moment of coming to himself, of seeing the death in what he’s doing, but he has done his work so well that he is helpless to escape his prison now.
Life has a way of bringing balance, though, and the things we employ for our own devices serve a larger purpose in themselves. What he thought to use to hold off the cold and bitterness of life, the fire, begins to undo everything he has built- everything that he’s now found himself helpless to escape. “We fear the cold so we’re locked inside. We stoke the flames ‘till they get too high. It’s not always what we wish for we find to be what we really needed so desperately. Chocking on the heat, we’re all trapped inside. We pray that love would get to us in time.”
Preservation is many times the opposite of love and that there’s something amazing and beautiful in a love that is so sacrificial that it sometimes looks recklessly self-destructive.
The last movement of the song postulates that self-protection, at a certain level, is no different from a prison. In those cases, if you would be free then freedom comes looking like destruction: breaking down doors and razing buildings.
Sometimes we need a push from the nest when it’s time to move on, when the place we’ve built as protection has done its work so well that there is no other way to move on but what looks like hurt and destruction. “Walls on all four sides are crashing down. Maybe it’s for the best- now we can get out. Dark smoke on our clothes and in our eyes is traded happily for the sun and sky.” Here is the idea that we find freedom when we can really let go of what we had and, in faith and joy walk into what is next, though it may be frightful and uncertain.

lyrics

a thousand nights and a thousand days
I would spend if you would stay
all locked up tight in our lovely house
so safe now, there’s no way out

a love I have felt only in my dreams
is what I saw when you looked at me
dark eyes. soft lips.
a life that would shake me when you left

the whole wide world the sky and sea
could all be ours if I would leave
but it’s so safe in here
I can barely breathe

we fear the cold so we’re locked inside
we stoke the flames till they get too high

it’s not alway what we wish for we find to be
what we really needed to desperately
choking on the heat we’re all trapped inside
we pray that love would get to us in time

walls on all four sides are crashing down
maybe it’s for the best- now we can get out
dark smoke on our clothes and in our eyes
is traded happily for the sun and sky

the difference in the walls of a jail or house
is who’s on the inside and who’s on the out
heaven would lose its love with out you near
and hell would not be hell if you were there

credits

from Coming Back, track released October 15, 2011
A Burning House-
•Lower Lights Burning on vocals, guitar, piano, drums, accordion, banjo, glockenspiel
•Cam Nicklaus on bass & tambourine

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