Legs Like Tree Trunks

Oct 11, 2012 Daytrotter Studio, Rock Island, IL

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Legs Like Tree Trunks

Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry

As a society and as individuals, we tend to misdiagnose things. We have a tendency to consider the problems or the issues to be anything other than the actual ones, when we sit down to try to come up with a plan for stopping whatever offending thing it is that's happening to us, or others. We are quick to conclude that we were least at fault, that all due diligence was taken, all care was exerted, all good intentions were applied and all logic will uphold these conclusions that we're planning on sticking by. It was something else that affected this and everything else. It was a vicious cycle that likely could never have been averted. It's a catch 22 or a curse. It's the least likely culprit, but the first one that comes to mind. It's usually just us. We fuck up. We are, without a doubt, the ones most likely to destroy our own chances at success, happiness or the like. We like to believe otherwise, but we do know better.

The Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, group Legs Like Tree Trucks do make us consider, however, that there are forces that cannot be dodged, that should take a little of the credit for madness that always seems to ensue when we're left to our own devices and given too much rope. The things that they sing about in their Deep Elm-heyday-sounding songs have to do with the elements, with the ways that we're worked over without having to do a thing, just by being there. You could be a motionless corpse, but one of those gusty, season-changing autumn breezes would make you sway and move nonetheless. It might even let you travel some. You could be finished with a life, but nature wouldn't be quite through with you yet. You could be buried in the ground, secure in a wooden box, but if someone were to come along and plant a tree next to you, a root could find its way straight through your softened chest, only passing through.

Legs Like Tree Trunks lead singer Matt Holden sings, "You remember the way the wind whipped through you that night/That night." He sings about people "without anchorage," just drifting and displaced. He sings, "We're lost in the sea/Evidently." There's a deep current of this feeling that people are only the slightest part of anything that's happening. We might be terrible stewards of this place, but we're inconsequential. We are these moving throbs of electricity, doing what we will, trying to find some eyes to lock with for an undetermined length of time.

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