Your Day Is Done

John on his bike
John on his bike, circa 1971 / Photo by George McLachlan

From the album Call It Home (2016)

I have very vivid memories and feelings of being eleven and twelve years old. It was an intersection of time between childhood and adolescence. I sensed an era of my life ending and could feel the uneasiness and excitement of a new one beginning.

Maybe it’s been kept all so fresh in my mind because I have Kodachrome slides that my dad took on Hornby Island in one of those summers that show me in worn-out corduroys with holes in the knees from two months of outdoor play, a head of moppy sun-bleached hair, riding a bike or hanging onto a tree at the edge of a cliff.

There was a comfortable balance between feeling in control and also carefree that made this time so special. The roads on the island were starting to be paved and for me, it was an opportunity to easily ride my bicycle to the end of the paved section knowing that next year, they’d pave more and I’d be able to travel farther. Everything was full of possibility as the wheels rolled along propelled by spinning feet.

John looking out over Lambert Channel
John leaning out over Lambert Channel, circa 1971 / Photo by George McLachlan

Little did I know that it would take about 40 years to feel that same level of comfort again in my skin once the race to prove something in the world—even if just to myself— that began in my teenage years and carried through the “trying to get somewhere” 20s, 30s and 40s, would be over. So, I relate to this 12-year old “me” in the song. It’s nice to meet him again.

Your Day Is Done

August breeze blowing through my golden hair
Feet spin round and round moving through the air
Two months of summer have burned like the sun
Blacktop from gravel, new road has begun

Silver spokes sparkle by blue sunlit sea
Blood pumps round and round, feels good being me
Twelve years have passed now in my life to here
Time cuts like a knife slicing the year

Just around the bend, the dirt road they’ll pave
Lying out before me like a rolling wave
Where will I go? What will I become?
Goodbye childhood, your day is done

Flowing fields fly by the light has grown long
Thoughts go round and round, will I know my song?
Smooth road is ending of youth held so dear
Butterflies inside and a little bit of fear

Just around the bend, the dirt road they’ll pave
Lying out before me like a rolling wave
Where will I go? What will I become?
Goodbye childhood, your day is done
Goodbye childhood, your day is done

© John McLachlan (SOCAN)