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  1. Lover's Leap

From the recording Dreams & Ghosts: A Family Album

I heard a story growing up about my great-grandmother, who was an immigrant from Germany. When she was a young woman, she was proposed to by a nice young man and had every reason to say "Yes". Instead, she said "no" - and that made all the difference in the rest of her life, which brought her to the United States to raise a family and be mother, grandmother and great-grandmother to all of us. I didn't realize how much this story would come to mean to me in my own life until I had to be brave and say "no" to something and someone. As I began writing this song, I was traveling through Missouri, and standing on the banks of the Mississippi River, I looked across to a high cliff. According to local legend, this cliff was called Lover's Leap.

Lyrics

They say up on that ledge, high above the river’s edge
Where lovers take their flight
A young Indian maiden who couldn’t have her lover true
Flew into the light
But how can you be so sure
That it was really love she leapt for?
Have you ever been up there?
Have you ever had to bear 
The burden of what you see from that height?
 
If I took a lover’s leap off into the mighty Mississippi
It’s just because I know
Sometimes you have to be your own hero
Blood is what reminds us
And water is what guides us home
 
I can see her over there, moonlight spills upon her hair
He’s bent down on one knee
Then everything turns cold, she looks as if she’s seen a ghost
Who says “You’re not where you should be”
But how can you be so sure
It was really a ghost she left for?
Have you ever held a map, walked along some distant path
You can only see in your dreams?
 
If I took a lover’s leap off into the mighty Mississippi
It’s just because I know
Sometimes you have to be your own hero
Blood is what reminds us
And water is what guides us home
 
I hear her voice out on the wind, I feel her blood beneath my skin
And she’s not the only one
Their stories are not mine to tell, but I’ve got dreams and ghosts as well
I can hear the songs they’ve sung
 
 
 And we can never be so sure
But I’d like to think it’s life we leap for
‘Cause I wasn’t trying to say no
But sometimes that’s the only way to know
To say yes to what comes next
 
So if I took a lover’s leap off into the mighty Mississippi
It’s just because I know
Sometimes you have to be your own hero
Blood is what reminds us
And water is what guides us home