Standing here
The old man said to me
Long before these crowded streets
Here stood my dreaming tree
Below it he would sit
For hours at a time
Now progress takes away
What forever took to find
Now he's falling hard
He feels the falling dark
How he longs to be
Beneath his dreaming tree
Conquered fear to climb
A moment froze in time
When the girl who first he kissed
Promised him she'd be his
Remembered mother's words
There beneath the tree
No matter what the world
You'll always be my baby
Mommy come quick
The dreaming tree has died
The air is growing thick
A fear he cannot hide
The dreaming tree has died

Oh, have you no pity
This thing I do
I do not deny it
All through this smile
As crooked as danger
I do not deny
I know in my mind
I would leave you now
If I had the strength to
I would leave you up
To your own devices
Will you not talk
Can you take pity
I don't ask much
But won't you speak

From the start
She knew she had it made
Easy up 'til then
For sure she'd make the grade
Adorers came in hordes
To lay down in her wake
She gave it all she had
But treasures slowly fade
Now she's falling hard
She feels the fall of dark
How did this fall apart
She drinks to fill it up
A smile of sweetest flowers
Wilted so and soured
Black tears stain the cheeks
That once were so admired
She thinks when she was small
There on her father's knee
How he had promised her
You'll always be my baby
Daddy come quick
The dreaming tree has died
I can't find my way home
There is no place to hide
The dreaming tree has died

Oh if I had the strength to
I would leave you up
To your own devices
Will you not talk
Can you take pity
I don't ask much
But won't you speak

Take me back
Take me back
Take me back
Take me back

Save me please

Lyrics submitted by Demau Senae

The Dreaming Tree song meanings
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  • +3
    General CommentFrom what I heard this song was written wit the help of Stefan Lessard, the DMB Bass player, and it's dedicated to Stefan's song, who died shortly after birth. Supposedly Dave wasn't originally going to put it on the album but Ben Affleck nd Gwyneth Paltrow, who he is apparently friends with, love it so much they inisted it be put on. This song has a lot to do with losing innocence and trying to go back to the way things were.
    DMBFay18on February 16, 2002   Link
  • +2
    General Commentto me, it seems that the song is about two people that once were in love. Both had their idea's and dreams shattered through the process of life. Both are now lonely and old.

    The man in the song (as a young man) fell in love with the the woman in the song. He "conquered his fear to climb (love)" with this woman. She was his first and last love. He's still "frozen in time", his dreams of love were shattered and he never recovered. His dreaming tree was "love". It took him many years to let himself love "Now progress takes away What forever took to find [love]". He was one of the men (adorers) left in "her wake". In the middle of the song, the man is trying to justify his lost love of her. He tells himself that "I know in my mind, I would leave you now". The man never knew why the woman left him, he asks himself "will you not talk", he needs to know why she left him.

    The woman he loved (and in the 2nd portion of the song) was young and beautiful, she was confident and she had everything, so she thought ("she was sure she'd make the grade"). The irony is that everything she thought she had was based on her beauty, but her "[beauty} slowly faded". Shes now ready to die ("She feels the fall of dark"). She once had everything. Her beauty "wilted and soured". Now she's lonely and old, the world she knew was turned upside down. She now "drinks (alcohol) to fill [the fact that her life fell apart] up". Her dreaming tree was the the false assumption that everything she earned everything she had, when in reality all the attention she attained wasn't because of anything she did or earned, it was based on her fleeting beauty. In the end, The woman says to herself "take me back, save me please". I'd like to think that shes asking the man to take her back.

    Both are now old, both Had their lives fall apart, yet as old men/women, they are there reverting/reflecting back to their childhood, when their dreams were still intact. Both beg their parents to make things go back to how they were before, when ignorance was bliss.
    mullett2kon December 31, 2004   Link
  • +1
    My InterpretationFor many, life will eventually contain an event that alters it irreversibly, creating a clear "before and after". For some, it may be the death of a child, or of a spouse or a parent, or the suicide of a friend or their loss to cancer. It could also be a serious crime committed by your own child or perhaps to your own child.

    This event disabuses us of the naive optimism (dreaming tree) through which we saw life at its beginning, and a new aware realism begins, where we can more clearly see our decline through old age and eventual return to dust. We think back to the "before" state, when life seemed full of opportunity, but we can never return there.

    We thought our parents were powerful protectors, the world was full of opportunities, and love was just a game. This illusion propels us until midlife, when, metaphorically, "the dreaming tree, dies".

    This song is wonderful work of art, that reflects on many lives in a beautiful way. Its melancholy sound is hypnotizing and varied arrangements from live performances, even with guest performances further show its greatness.
    rich114562on November 13, 2018   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI am on a commenting spree here :) I just have so much to say when it comes to all of dmb's music. This song especially has a great deal of meaning to it. I like to think of this song being about a tree that plays a huge role in one person's life where many of their childhood memories come from, and the day that it dies and how that plays in the life of the person. It really is a rather deep song that takes some time to understand fully.
    antifox64on November 25, 2001   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is one of my favorite DMB songs. To me, it's about when dreams die in the whole growing up process. Hearts being broken, Ideals being crushed, etc. And when these dreams die, it's so easy to feel lost in the world and just wish that you could go back to the days of "sitting under the dreaming tree".
    Skaviuson January 08, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI really think Raspberry put it perfectly. It could mean an actually physical tree, but i believe it's more of a metiphore for innocents and youth.
    Lissy Ratzon April 10, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI agree completely about the innocence metaphor. It deals with the fact that when you get older the real world just comes at you so fast and so strong that alot of times you just feel like you can't handle it and you wish you could go back to the days of carelessness
    BigEyedPhish103on May 04, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthink song iz ma fav dmb song! its so strong
    silverpuppiezon June 01, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commentto much to say about this song. it has to much meaning!

    its about the innocence of childhood and dreaming. once you grow up, you lose the childhood dreams, and find yourself wanting to go back to the days when you were under your "dreaming tree".

    i worship dave matthews. (marry me.)
    xx.on June 06, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think it's about pollution too.
    Paul Finchon June 10, 2002   Link

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