Different Kinds of Happy

Always Looking for the Fawn

Music has a singularly powerful way of reaching into our hearts and resonating either as deeply disturbing or wonderful or true or perhaps all of the above. I for one am very impressionable when it comes to music. I can still recall hundreds of lyrics to VBS songs from half a lifetime ago. I have been kept awake for hours because a song would repeat in my head a thousand times. (Although I could probably blame that on my OCD tendencies). For better or worse, I usually find songs far more memorable than sermons.

At an Andrew Peterson concert earlier this year featuring his newest album, “Light for the Lost Boy,” one of the songs made me weep: “The Ballad of Jody Baxter.”  Based on Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings’ book, The Yearling, the song — both lyrics and music — is achingly beautiful.  I cannot do justice to Andrew Peterson’s ability to craft stories and messages that pierce your soul in a few stanzas, so here are the lyrics:

Do you remember, Jody Baxter
When the whippoorwill sings
How you stole across the pasture
To the little hidden spring?
Where you laid down by the water
On a bed of Spanish moss
And dreamed

When wind was on the prairie
And the fire was in the stove
With the wood you had to carry
From the corner of the grove
And your daddy let you disappear
With all your fishing gear
Into the cove

And it was good, good, good
But now it’s gone, gone, gone
And there’s a little boy
Who’s lost out in the woods
Always looking for the fawn

I remember, Jody Baxter
When I hid out in the corn
How the clouds were moving faster
With the coming of the storm
And I knew that I had broken
Something I could not repair
And I mourned

So come back to me
Please, come back to me
Is there any way that we can
Change the ending of this tragedy?
Or does it have to be this way?

I can see you, Jody Baxter
Now you’re broken by the years
As you lie down in the aster
And listen for the deer
And I’m a million miles away
But I still pray the fawn can find me

Maybe I need a reality check. Maybe that shiny new college diploma is already losing its luster. But I relate so much with little Jody Baxter. As excited as I am about diving into the next stage of my life journey, I would love to be able to grab my fishing pole and escape to the forest to accomplish nothing spectacular but to enjoy a sunny afternoon at the lake and lie on a bed of Spanish moss, naming clouds poodles or elephants or turtles. When I hear one of those VBS songs, I long to return to the simpler days when the most difficult decision was chocolate or vanilla ice cream.

But I think this song is about more than individual loss of childhood. It’s about our world’s loss of innocence that began in Eden. Could it be that a yearning for the simple joys of childhood is one expression of our innate longing for Eden? Could it be that, while we need to uphold our responsibilities as adults, it is equally natural, even important to hope for Paradise and seek glimmering shards of Eden in our broken world?

This entry was published on May 27, 2013 at 2:49 pm and is filed under Life, Music. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

2 thoughts on “Always Looking for the Fawn

  1. Love this post — I had no idea you liked Andrew Peterson. I’ve seen him live twice, and he’s a really genuine singer/songwriter/person in general.

  2. Thanks. I love AP! And that’s fantastic; I had no idea you knew about him! He is in a class of his own. 🙂

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