Well, I'm not the kind to live in the past
the years run too short and the days too fast
The things you lean on
Are the things that don't last
A common habit among us retired folks is to remember "the good old days." The music was better, people were more polite, our politicians really cared about us, all the women were strong, all the men were good looking, and all the children were above average.
With apologizes to Garrison Keillor, our memories tend to sand off the rough edges, forget the societal faults and shortcomings, and leave an embellished, slightly out-of-focus view of our past.
In a very direct way Al Stewart is suggesting that that we really can't afford to live our lives constantly looking over our shoulders. Time is moving forward, seemingly faster as the years past. As i wrote a while back, We are living in a time warp. We simply don't have the luxury anymore of not making use of the days we have in front of us.
He is also reminding us that the "things we lean on," like our big homes or possessions or even stock portfolios are exactly the type of things that don't last. To spend our precious time accumulating beyond the necessities will eventually let us down.
But, in the core theme of the song, Mr. Stewart does remind us of one part of our past, lost in the passages of time, that is crucial to our happiness:
In these time passages
I know you're in there
You're just out of sight
Oh, time passages
Buy me a ticket on the last train home tonight
One special relationship, a lover, a friend forgotten and lost over the years. That is the part of the fabric of our lives that time has pushed just out of sight that is worth going back for. Buy me a ticket on the last train back to my home, the place where I feel safe because of the love of that one, special person.
Time Passages is a song that speaks to what is important. The lyrics remind us of what is worth trying to recapture if we have allowed it to slip into the haze of our past.