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Dirt In The Ground

April 13, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

There is a small airport just a few miles off of Highway 74 in North Carolina that has an airplane bone yard.

A bone yard is a place where old aircraft are taken when their useful life is over. They sit there until someone needs a used part and it is stripped off, returning like organic decay into the soil. So in a way, these inanimate birds face the same fate as their biological cousins. They deteriorate away until there is nothing left, when they just go to a scrap heap to be forgotten.

Whenever I visit this place, I am reminded of Tom Wait's 1992 record Bone Machine, a rather dark and hard edged piece of work. In particular the song Dirt in the Ground run through my head as I walk among the planes and imagine both the places they've been and where they'll ultimately end up.

What does it matter, a dream of love
Or a dream of lies
We're all gonna be in the same place
When we die
Your spirit don't leave knowing
Your face or your name
And the wind through your bones
Is all that remains
And we're all gonna be
We're all gonna be
Just dirt in the ground

The quill from a buzzard
The blood writes the word
I want to know am I the sky
Or a bird
'Cause hell is boiling over
And heaven is full
We're chained to the world
And we all gotta pull
And we're all gonna be
Just dirt in the ground

Now the killer was smiling
With nerves made of stone
He climbed the stairs
And the gallows groaned
And the people's hearts were pounding
They were throbbing, they were red
As he swung out over the crowd
I heard the hangman said
We're all gonna be
Just dirt in the ground

Now Cain slew Abel
He killed him with a stone
The sky cracked open
And the thunder groaned
Along a river of flesh
Can these dry bones live?
Ask a king or a beggar
And the answer they'll give
Is we're all gonna be
Yea yeah
We're all gonna be just
Dirt in the ground

(c) Tom Waits

 


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