“Somewhere Only We Know” by Keane

Meaningful songs are underrated these days. In a time like we live in where everything is saturated with consumerism and entertainment, meaningful songs that provide a space for us to truly reflect on ourselves have been put on the back burner. And in this process, we lose touch of meaning while living. Meaningful songs are art, and one song I consider to be one is “Somewhere Only We Know” by Keane. There is one line in the song that is so rich in metaphor that says so much. It’s a line that’s been in my mind for a while and coming back to over and over as I indulge in that replay button.

“I came across a fallen tree/I felt the branches of it looking at me/Is this the place we used to love? /Is this the place that I’ve been dreaming of?”

“Somewhere Only We Know”

There is so much to talk about in this line, and I honestly don’t know where to begin want to begin with talking about the image of a fallen tree. This line talks about a place (well, the entire song is about that place in a figurative sense – which is why it’s title “Somewhere Only We Know”, but we’ll set the unpacking of the whole meaning of the song aside).

A place that has an image of a “fallen tree” says that the place is desolate. It’s lifeless. It’s abandoned. It is a place where something was undone and unfulfilled. The speaker talks about that fallen tree as if it was familiar to him. Or maybe the other way around – that place knows him well, as the “branches” of the fallen tree are looking at him. The speaker may have been in that place before, and when we spend some time in a place, we create memories there. Time and place create memories. It may have been a memory that the speaker left behind, hence rendering it desolate and abandoned as illustrated by the image of the “fallen tree”. We don’t know the circumstances of the speaker for leaving behind that place, but we sure do know that there could be several circumstances wherein we decide to leave a place behind. After all, each one of us has gone through something in our lives where we left that place behind. And the way we left it may or may not be pleasant. Whatever that place may be, it becomes a memory. As it becomes a memory, life forces us to move on with our lives with enough opportunities to consume and entertainment to be distracted with. Yet, time after time, we run across that “fallen tree” with branches that look at us. That gaze is a way of asking us “do you remember me?” Or perhaps it is the most honest thing that checks up on us with “how are you?” when we are in the midst of fooling ourselves that the place never existed.

The painful thing to come to terms with is that – whether we like it or not – the memories won’t go away; that desolate place will always remain. The more we resist that place, the more unhappy we’ll become, and putting up a façade will become more challenging and sickening as time goes on. When we deny the memory, we deny a part of ourselves. The emotions that come with the memory – whether it is grief, anger, sorrow – are as real as the fact that we exist. We’ll always come across that fallen tree and the harder part is that we do not pick the time when we’ll run into it. The more we acknowledge and be at peace with that place, the happier we’ll be as life goes on and, in turn, better suited in living meaningfully.  

Some take quickly to come to terms with the memory, some take longer, and some may take their entire lives, and that is okay. Perhaps there was love undone and unfulfilled in the memory. Those can be difficult to come to terms with, as the speaker in the song recalls that place of “fallen tree” as where he and the other person used to love.

Yet, time after time, we run across that “fallen tree” with branches that look at us. That gaze is a way of asking us “do you remember me?” Or perhaps it is the most honest thing that checks up on us with “how are you?” when we are in the midst of fooling ourselves that the place never existed.

Being human is to love, and so the most painful thing we could go through is to experience all the love we made and created with someone being undone. When we leave that special place behind, it almost feels like the love was being undone. The speaker asks, “is this the place we used to love?” and wants to come back to that place. He wants to come back to that place, because he’s “been dreaming of” it. The only problem is that it is a desolate place, marked by that “fallen tree”. He doesn’t know how to redo the place all over, probably because he needs the other person to come back. The two of them together can pick up that fallen tree tall and erect again and redo the whole place back to life. The only thing is that the other person may not come back anymore.

As long as we live, we carry the memories with us – whether good or bad. The line in this song is a rich metaphor of the memories we struggle with. Struggling with it may feel like frustration or grief. Yet, even in spite of the fallen tree that seems to taunt us. We may struggle with a memory, and that is completely okay. The struggle is just what makes us completely human – the struggle cannot knock us completely off the ground. The meaning behind the struggle is found in the present, when we give ourselves a chance by allowing more memories in our lives to be created.

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The contents of this website genuinely come from a heart that aspires to make a difference by helping others gain a sense of meaning in their lives through thoughtful blog posts.

Your financial contributions will surely be appreciated!

The contents of this website genuinely come from a heart that aspires to make a difference by helping others gain a sense of meaning in their lives through thoughtful blog posts.

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