It’s interesting to see how an idea changes from one form into something completely different as it evolves in the writing process. In this case, the song began with a guitar pattern that derived from another song called ‘February.’ I’d been listening to Iron and Wine quite a bit around this time and found myself mimicking the playing style of the beautifully subtle songs from the album Naked as We Came.
I was drawn to the mood of this pattern and spent a week or more trying to fit it to a lyric. Somewhere along the line I hit upon an idea and dropped the pattern entirely, opting instead for a very simple chord progression using the G/C/Em forms. I tend to play with a capo on the 2nd or 3rd frets, so the tuning in the recording will be a full tone up, which seems to suit my vocal range.
The lyric itself is inspired by a personal experience with a good friend who never made it to the end of his journey. I had the good fortune to play it live with another friend at a recent reunion, where we performed it as a personal tribute.