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Putting the Past to Pasture -- The Story

The Story Of –Putting the Past to Pasture

A featured performer on this song is Sean Shiel, mandolin player extraordinaire from the bluegrass group Miles from Mountains. August Sheehy adds bass and Rick Sheehy puts on the perfect high harmony.


“Putting the Past to Pasture,” our title track, is a little song about the undeniable power of the past, and how we pretend it’s just back there somewhere and not really affecting us in the present. I think of things I’ve done (or not done) and that I’ve moved beyond those decisions – that I’m a newer, older and wiser version of me, having learned my lessons. It’s true I might have learned some things – but how often have I repeated the same mistakes again and again?

Here’s an old joke: Two men, sitting on a bus. One keeps tearing up little pieces of paper and scattering them around him. The other asks,” why are you doing that?” The first replies, “To keep away the elephants!” The other replies, “That’s ridiculous! There are no elephants here!” And the first says, “You see, it’s working.”

The fact that you can fool yourself into thinking something is true doesn’t necessarily make it true.

Or, to put it in different words, , “Trying very hard not to think about something / Is the same as thinking about it after all.”

Our pasts don’t leave us. You can’t become a new person – just a newer version. And you cannot deny your past, either, no matter how hard you may try. You can’t put it to pasture. But if you can examine your past and learn from it, it has an intrinsic value no one can take from you. (“I think I understand now how to see where I’ve been blind / You’ve just got to turn your head around.”)


Putting the Past to Pasture

Philosophers almost had me once you know

I gave a lot of my thought to joining that parade

And I’ve still got the habit every now and then

It’s a trick I pull to make the hours fade


I’ve worked so hard at putting the past to pasture

Doing my best to erase what I recall

But trying very hard not to think about something is

The same as thinking about it after all.


And if even the planet goes travelling on its journey

Then the highway is the natural place to be

Living in expectation of what’s just around the bend

And the road behind is of no concern to me


I’ve worked so hard at putting the past to pasture

Doing my best to erase what I recall

But trying very hard not to think about something is

The same as thinking about it after all.


The only eyes I’ve got are the ones God gave to me

And I could focus straight ahead or on the ground

I think I understand now how to see where I’ve been blind

You’ve just got to turn your head around


I’ve worked so hard at putting the past to pasture

Doing my best to erase what I recall

But trying very hard not to think about something is

The same as thinking about it after all.

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