Last week the students in my Writing Close to the Earth online class read George Orwell's classic essay, "Politics and the English Language." In it ... Read More
A few months back I posted a song by one of my new favorite artists, the Swedish band A Treehouse Wait. I’m telling you guys, this album is gorgeous. The production is lush and tasteful and super creative, and they do a great job of showcasing Jenny Wahlström’s crazy good voice. These lyrics! These melodies! I seriously can’t get enough of this music, and it’s not just because I’m Swedish, I promise.
If anyone knows how to ache for the green fields of summer, it's the Swedes...Andrew Peterson
One of the things I like most in a song is what Rich Mullins was so good at—grand, poetic themes that are grounded in story. The title of Rich’s album Winds of Heaven/Stuff of Earth sums it up. He was a master at writing these sweeping, epic lyrics, and then throwing in a friend’s name (“I remember what Susan said,” “maybe we could borrow Beaker’s bike”) or a city or place name (“Well, the moon moved past Nebraska,” “Once I went to Appalachia, for my father, he was born there”) to remind us that while he’s talking about big ideas, those ideas play themselves out right here on earth, among the people and places we know. It wakes me up to the beauty of our own stories, to the beauty of the world we live in—but it also just wakes me up. I pay closer attention when I remember he’s telling an intimate story about his life—about our lives—not just throwing out grandiose themes. The fact is, the streets where we live, the families we see every day, are the stage for the epic ballad of creation.
The song “Waves” by A Treehouse Wait does the same thing. Check it out.
Waves will move again and the fields be green
When all of the flowers bloom
And it will be summer again, I know
I can see all the melting ice
Can you feel the wind that blows?
It’s changing its course now
Will we see, and will we run fast with it,
And dare to believe that winter is over?
The middle verse takes a delightful turn that changes our experience of the song, so that when she circles back around to the first lyric we have the added ache of knowing that she’s actually, literally longing for the coming summer.
Come home, John
We saved a seat for you
We put on some music, too
I think you’re gonna like it
And if you like
I’d come pick you up somewhere
Yes, I’ll go a million miles
Just shout and I’ll come there
I miss you here
Please say that you missed me
And when summer comes
We’ll have light that warms us
I’ve been in Sweden in the deep of winter. Once I stayed in a seaside castle in Varberg that was literally covered in drifts of snow. The rivers and lakes were frozen and waveless. The sun only shines for a few hours a day. If anyone knows how to ache for the green fields of summer, it’s the Swedes, and this song captures the wild hope that winter won’t hold sway forever, that those we love who are far away will one day feast with us again. There’s something about the dream of green in the dark of winter that wakes a longing in me like nothing else. This song, and this video, makes the waiting sweet and sad and, praise God, bearable.
It will be summer again, I know.
As a singer-songwriter and recording artist, Andrew has released more than ten records over the past fifteen years. His music has earned him a reputation for writing songs that connect with his listeners in ways equally powerful, poetic, and intimate. He has also followed his gifts into the realm of publishing. His books include the four volumes of the award-winning Wingfeather Saga.