Three months ago I began a six-month sabbatical with the intention of devoting myself to writing songs. I started going through my notebooks, looking at songs I had started, and doing my best to finish them. One thing I found was just four lines about hugging a tree. I wrote a few more lines, and pretty soon I had this song.
In the first verse I used the expression “by Jove” without thinking. But when I wrote the rest of the verses, I followed the pattern, using the ancient Roman names for the Earth and Venus (and the associated goddesses). In the last verse, I added a new sky-god to the pantheon.
The sexual imagery in the lyrics is not meant to be taken literally, though whatever floats your boat is cool with me. I think the song is suggesting that the world around us is alive and in some way conscious, not just the animals and trees, but even the rocks, the water, the air and sunlight. And that we will enjoy life much more when we learn to live in harmony with our fellow sentient beings. To say that consciousness is a basic feature of the universe may sound strange, but that is the conclusion of many of the most profound scientific thinkers in recent years. And it’s how most of us humans have always understood things, other than during the past few hundred years of untethered rationality in Western thought. I think we are waking up from the trance of reason and reclaiming our original awareness of our connection with the natural world. And this means better times for us individually, for the human race as a whole, and for Terra and all her creatures.
Or maybe it’s just a song about getting it on with trees and rocks. What do you think?
I hugged a tree today F#m B
It was a lascivious act A F#m
You know I gave that tree some love F#m B
And by Jove it loved me back A F#m
I fondled a stone today
It was an erotic encounter
I needed a stone to touch
And by Terra you know I found her
Yeah I found that love I needed B C#m
It was waitin’ just for me E F#m
I always find the love I’m needin’ B C#
And it’s given to me free A B
It’s given free F#m
I dove in the creek today
Felt the water on my naked skin
I needed some liquid love
And by Venus she let me in
I kissed the sky today
We shared a sweet caress
I asked the sky to hold me
And by Jimi he said yes
Yeah I found that love I needed
It was waitin’ just for me
I always find the love I’m needin’
And it’s given to me free
They call me treehugger
They call me treehugger