Hey hey hey the end is near
On a good day you can see the end from here
But I won't turn back now though the way is clear
I will stay for the remainder

I saw a life and I called it mine
I saw it drawn so sweet and fine
And I had begun to fill in all the lines
Right down to what we'd name her

Our nature does not change by will
In the Winter 'round the ruined mill
The creek is lying flat and still
It is water though it's frozen

So, across the years and miles and through
On a good day you can feel my love for you
Will you leave me be so that we can stay true
To the path that you have chosen?


Lyrics submitted by mutinyinheaven_x

On A Good Day song meanings
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16 Comments

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  • +2
    My InterpretationSuch a beautiful and sad song.

    I think its about a miscarrage and how that in turn broke down a relationship.

    I saw a life and I called it mine
    I saw it drawn so sweet and fine
    And I had begun to fill in all the lines
    Right down to what we'd name her

    She had seen the baby through a scanned image and found out that it was a girl and had started filling in the lines in her baby book, right down to what she'd name her. You can here the sweet and gentleness in Joanna's voice as she thinks about the life that was once there.

    In the next verse however you can hear the despair and sadness as she recall the death of this child, particularly in the line "the creek is lying flat and still" The baby is still inside her and it has died. The next line follows... "it is water though it's frozen" as in; it was a life or a person even though had died and stopped moving. She uses winter as a metaphor for death. In the winter everything looks as though it i dead, cold and hard to deal with.
    eggsforlegson August 13, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General CommentThese lyrics are so beautiful. I can see it being about a baby, especially since it follows Baby Birch (but I think that one can be taken as a relationship failing too, not just baby issues), but I like where rickterp was going with it too. I think the relationship died but she was caught so off guard, she even had baby names picked out. And it seems like she is still in love with him, but he's left her. The ending is so beautiful though. Those last lines haunt me. "Will you leave me be so that we can stay true/To the path that you have chosen?" I took it as she's trying her best to let things go, but it's so hard for her. The "we can stay true the the path you chose" feels like she's trying to honor what he wanted, but that's what it is ultimately - something he wanted, and not her. This song really makes me feel like crying.
    Speakerbox247on March 08, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General Comment
    Another incredible song about her relationship with Bill Callahan. What I've gathered from her songs is that Bill gave up on their relationship/himself. Sounds like they had a spiritual connection that suffered from times of intense isolation/disconnection. You should check out Bill's latest album for a view from the other side.
    timbo227on March 09, 2010   Link
  • +1
    General Comment"The creek is lying flat and still
    It is water though it's frozen"

    This could be one of those eternal vs. ephemeral metaphors. Although the creek appears to be still, there is water flowing underneath the ice. It's about thinking something is stable and constant, even though it's actually changing. This fits right into the relationship interpretation everyone else was talking about.

    The two lines before these, especially "Our nature does not change by will," seem to be saying that the break-down of the relationship was inevitable, and not something to blame on either party. Things decay, things get washed away.
    RaceYouAnyTimeon March 23, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentOne of my favorites from her new album. In between all of these epic long songs, this short little beauty really sticks with me. And the second verse is just amazing.
    BaxterBon February 20, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWhen I put in the CD I-tunes named this song "on a bad day" but on the case and pocket and song book it says good, weird huh?
    GoodIntentionsPaveron February 26, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song makes me think of a mother choosing life over the other option.
    dza360on March 05, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentReally heartbreaking. Coming right after Baby Birch, I can't help assuming that the "right down to what we'd name her" is about plans for having a child that are never realized.

    Also, I find the final line so sad -- seems like this is a relationship that's ending not because she wants it to. But, since it is over, she is walking away and not turning back.
    rickterpon March 06, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI see this as being a rather straightforward song exemplifying the weakness of human will in the face of nature's courses.

    "Hey hey hey the end is near.
    On a good day you can see the end from here,
    But I won't turn back now though the way is clear.
    I will stay for the remainder."

    This could point to a possible "doomsday" that is destined to happen eventually, possibly during the narrator's lifetime. Even on the best days, the looming dread of what nature has in store is still clear. But rather than try to fight or run from it, she will continue what little life left she has to live.

    "I saw a life and I called it mine.
    I saw it drawn so sweet and fine,
    And I had begun to fill in all the lines,
    Right down to what we'd name her."

    The narrator must have had her whole life planned out, right down to what she was going to name her child. But, this has yet to happen, as it's still just filled in lines instead of actual events.

    "Our nature does not change by will.
    In the Winter 'round the ruined mill
    The creek is lying flat and still.
    It is water though it's frozen."

    Nature is not phased by the will of man. It only changes itself. The mill could represent the authority of man, and the fact that it's ruined (by either the creek around it or the Winter that it's in) shows its true strength in the face of nature. Only the Winter, another facet of nature, can freeze the water and change it to ice. Not the will of man.

    "So, across the years and miles and through
    On a good day you can feel my love for you.
    Will you leave me be so that we can stay true
    To the path that you have chosen?"

    In the fleeting moments of a life that's coming to an end, the narrator tries to stay true to the life she has, even if it's not chosen by her. On a good day, her lover (another facet of human life) can see her love for him -- but, ironically, a good day is also where "the end" is most clear. Perhaps the reality is that the strongest of human passions still only serve to remind us that we're powerless in reality. The narrator has not even the strength to decide her own fate, following instead in the life her lover has chosen.

    This is just what I get out of it, and is probably wrong. But the message I see is that NATURE > HUMAN WILL.
    WhiteHuskieon July 08, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Commentin "on a good day," the narrator seems like she is trying to deal with the emotional aftermath that she experienced in the previous "chapter". she tells of how she saw the life inside her "drawn so sweet and fine," and how she had "begun to fill in all the lines, right down to what [they'd] name her."

    perhaps it is due to her fragile emotional state and her own behavior that her lover wants to leave. obviously it's not all the narrator's fault, and she's not the only one with flaws, however: what kind of a man would end a relationship while a woman was mourning a miscarriage? they are both very imperfect people, and the relationship was, thus, a very unhealthy one. but, as our narrator knows all too well, "our nature does not change by will." we are who we are, and sometimes we just have to learn to live with it and stop trying to change things. even though the water in the creek has frozen into ice, it's still water.

    her lover decided to end things, but apparently won't leave her alone to get over him, as referenced in the lines: "will you leave me be, so that we can stay true to the path that you have chosen?"

    this is a short song, so there's not really much else to say about it.
    ericaruthon September 19, 2010   Link

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