About the song

John Denver’s Wildflowers in a Mason Jar (The Farm). Now that’s a song that evokes a powerful sense of nostalgia, wouldn’t you agree? Denver, a folk icon known for his odes to nature and Americana, delivers a poignant ballad that takes us on a journey through memory lane.

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Released in 1975 on his album Some Days Are Diamonds, this track stands out for its introspective nature. It’s a stark contrast to some of Denver’s more upbeat, nature-centric anthems like “Take Me Home, Country Roads” or “Rocky Mountain High.” Here, we find a more subdued Denver, one grappling with the passage of time and the fading echoes of childhood.

The song opens with a gentle guitar melody, setting the stage for a melancholic narrative. The lyrics paint a vivid picture of a young boy traveling by Greyhound bus with his grandfather in the dead of winter. The details – the “tall German grandpa sleeping,” the “midnight highway,” and the “winter sky” – create a sense of isolation and quiet contemplation.

As the journey progresses, the narrative takes a fantastical turn. The grandfather, jolted awake by a bump, reveals he’s been dreaming of being back “on the farm.” This simple line acts as a bridge, transporting both the listener and the narrator back to a simpler time, a time filled with warm memories.

Wildflowers in a Mason Jar becomes a potent symbol throughout the song. It represents the beauty and fragility of those childhood experiences. The image of wildflowers, vibrant and free, juxtaposes the harsh realities of the bus journey and the grandfather’s aging. The mason jar, a symbol of preservation, captures the narrator’s desire to hold onto those precious memories.

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The song weaves a tapestry of emotions. The narrator’s longing for the past is palpable, yet there’s a tenderness in his remembrance. The grandfather’s stories about his Kentucky home, the “smell of rain” and the “warm Earth in his hands,” paint a picture of a life deeply connected to nature. This connection serves as a counterpoint to the sterile, impersonal experience of the bus ride.

Wildflowers in a Mason Jar is more than just a nostalgic ballad. It’s a meditation on the power of memory and the enduring strength of the bond between grandparent and grandchild. It reminds us that even as we grow older, the experiences of our youth continue to shape us, blooming like wildflowers in the fertile ground of our hearts.

Denver’s signature folksy vocals and the simple yet evocative lyrics make this song a timeless classic. It resonates deeply with anyone who has ever cherished a special place or relationship from their childhood. So, sit back, close your eyes, and let Wildflowers in a Mason Jar transport you back to a time of simpler joys and enduring memories.

Video

Lyrics

January, back in ’55, we rode a Greyhound bus through the Georgia midnight.
Grandpa was sleeping and the winter sky was clear.
We hit a bump and his head jerked back a little and he mumbled something,
he woke up smiling, but his eyes were bright with tears.

He said, “I dreamed I was back on the farm,
20 years have passed, boy, the memory still warms me. Wildflowers in a mason jar”He told me those old stories ’bout that one-room cabin in Kentucky.
The smell of the rain and the warm earth in his hands.

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He slowly turned and stared outside, his face was mirrored in the window,
and his reflection flew across the moonlit land.
And he dreamed he was back on the farm.
Tilts his head and listens to the early sound of morning, wildflowers in a mason jar.

An old man and an eight-year-old boy rolling down that midnight highway,
Kentucky memories from a winter Georgia night.
I started drifting off and Grandpa tucked his coat around me,

I think I tried to smile as I slowly closed my eyes.
And I dreamed I was with him on the farm.
Grandpa, I can hear the evening wind out in the corn, wildflowers in a mason jar,
wildflowers in a mason jar, wildflowers in a mason jar, and the bus rolled through the night.