I’ve always wanted a song. When asked what song did I call my own, I have been known to respond jokingly, “Nowhere Man.”
It wasn’t because of the lyrics. If I had listened to the lyrics, I would have known that wasn’t me. I just liked the title.
I’ve thought about Simon & Garfunkel’s “The Boxer.” Love the song but it’s one of those pick-my-rear-end-out-of-the-dirt-and-get-on-with-it songs.
It does that. And it does it in aces. But I can’t say that it is a song that defines me.
Then I heard Greg Lake of Emerson Lake & Palmer perform his “Footprints in the Snow.”
I chanced upon the song by accident. I had heard that Keith Emerson had committed suicide. To honor this great musician whom I had loved in my youth, I went back and listened to several of their albums, then I found Footprints. At first, I thought maybe Greg had written it for Keith–and that may be so. I found it on the 1992 “Black Moon” and began to re-evaluate. Maybe Greg composed this song for one of his children. Or a lover.
But there seemed to be more to it than that. At least, for me. Over the years since that 2016 night, I’ve listened to Footprints hundreds of times. Wasn’t sure why I loved the song but I loved the song.
The other night I pulled it up and listened to Footprints once again. And it hit me. This is a song about my relationship with myself. It’s a struggle of trying to come to terms with that relationship.
“First time when you looked at me
You tried to hide but I could see
A special beauty in your eyes
Passion flying like a spark
Like an arrow to the mark
I feel it sting my jealousy
Before you know there’s footprints in the snow
Desire like a river flows
Where it comes from no one knows
It isn’t heard, it isn’t seen.
Love just like a flower grows
And then God only knows
It comes down like guillotine
Now I feel the rain
of love torn by a hurricane
One night eclipsed the sun
How deep still waters run
How deep they go like footprints in the snow
Take my love into your brest
Commit my spirit to the test
You will see him like a knight
His armour gleams
We’ll fly upon his angel’s wings
Above the clouds in rainbow rings
We can sail a ship of dreams
If you will take my hand
We can cross this desert made of sand
We can break in through the ice
And feel the wind of paradise
We’ll feel it blow our footprints in the snow
Anytime you feel alone
Just raise your hand, pick up the phone
Take in my number, there I’ll be
If one day your stars won’t shine
I will give you some of mine
Cause they could fall so easily
We both know there’s footprints in the snow.”
Do you have a song you claim as your own? What is it, and why?