“Gardener” is a track which dwells upon dichotomy, the contrasting duality of both the sheer wonder and staggering fatigue of being. This is a report from the doldrums accompanied by a concerted reaching for the will and hope to continue. Not only that but to move one step further, to inspire the self and others, and to reassure among great doubts.
Music is a tool that can serve many purposes. I’ve used the term “commiseration” a good amount recently, but it is well suited and applicable here. I’ve listened to this track probably 100 times over the last couple of days. I need and appreciate the commiserating. The twist toward the track’s conclusion, after the recounting, to rally in concerted effort at contorting fate to good, is comforting.
The song is not solely a faithful account, which has value in itself and the act of ‘making’ is an implicit means of acknowledging this. But the lyric pushes further, and conscious of the subsequent self, appreciates explicitly its own agency and capacity for altering or influence. The strings help elaborate upon this ascending. There is a breadth of backing vocals, their intermittent choral convalescing the community referenced within.
There is some cutting humor and much truth in the contrast of lines like: “mornings are unbearable,” I said to no one / and they responded, “but won’t you miss it when it’s gone? And it reminds you of the old joke, “The food here is terrible.” / “Yes, and such small portions.”
In any case, I found it from Jon Doyle’s beautiful writing about it at VariousSmallFlames.co.uk, and you should read that assessment.