From Arkansas, today we have Jared Henry who, according to his YouTube bio, is “a professional downhill skateboarder, singer-songwriter, and full-time adventurer.” One of his many tales of adventure is brought to us today by his song “Running Wild,” in which he spins a tale of a road trip resulting in a stuck jeep and a cold snowy night spent by campfire. While it’s a song steeped in truth, it also is like life as a young adult.
From the get-go, the song reminds me of Iron & Wine, specifically Sam Beam’s first album The Creek Drank the Cradle. There’s a nice smooth strumming pattern nicely offset by percussive hits on the guitar as Jared sings with a hint of a whisper:
“Oh, this world’s not so cruel now, is it?
I was a fool to think that our hearts were tethered
like leaves on the straight water beds running down a river
like leaves on the straight water beds running down a river”
This line like one of those sad breakups where, despite everything on paper looking great, you just can’t make it work. You’re left wondering how anything in life could possibly be that worthwhile if what you once thought was perfect wasn’t. Over time, you come to accept it and start to look on the bright side, but there’s still a part of you that questions how kind the world really is.
“Smoky lights take the sky
When my lips run dry
My jeep runs dry
Stuck in the snow
Three feet down
I’m wondering why,
I’m wondering why
I ever listened to you
I ever listened to you”
Sometimes it takes getting to your lowest of lows to reflect on life. Maybe friendly advice wasn’t as helpful as you thought it’d be, or you realize you still feel miserable and just can’t figure out why.
Jared goes on to the refrain, singing:
“We’re running wild
We’re running wild
We’re running wild”
At these low points, sometimes the only option is to zag while the world zigs. You go off the grid. Quit your job and become an entrepreneur. Move to a different state. Anything that could bring fresh new air into your life. It feels crazy and scary but oh so exhilarating all at the same time.
“We walk like coyotes
With our eyes on our backs
Moon shining brighter
We might not make it out tonight”
You’ve made the choice, and things aren’t going so well. Your idea for a startup business is a flop. Your new job isn’t what you thought it’d be. You hate the new region you’re in. Whatever it is, it starts to consume you. You congregate with a small pack of people in similar situations.
Keeping eyes out for each other and yourself, you make sure that you all make it through together.
Jared repeats the refrain, adding some high pitched descending vocal lines that’s reminiscent of howling coyotes.
He explicitly states the obvious but often forgotten truth that life can be gone in the blink of an eye. He goes on to further explore this, now strumming gently as he sings:
“We were young and throwing stones at the sky
Yeah, we were young and reckless living our lives”
In youth, you don’t think about what or why you’re doing something. Even if you know what you want, sometimes you still end up wasting time throwing your energy in all the wrong places.
When you start to focus your energy and desires, that’s when you start to see results.
Jared ends the song by repeating the refrain, reminding us to throw stones, but to get more specific with where you’re throwing them. Rocks skip much better along the lake when you throw them on the water and not the sky. So, work hard, work smart, and keep running wild.
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