i've been singing/playing this song for a couple years now, and it never seems to get old to me. it also seems to be one of the songs that people groove to and really relate to, even though the story is pretty vague.
a lot of us seem to have some kind of a story of a relationship that almost was but didn't end up ever actually existing - and it's like floating, living in this ambient space of no definition. that's what "New England" is.
i wish that i could hold your heart
carry it gently in my hands
but my arms are just not strong enough
to hold what i don't understand
and the chorus sort of proclaims an end to this sort-of-kind-of-almost-not-really relationship and let's it go.
you can take the new england lake you go to
i'll settle with the southern land it's just happenstance
that i had ever really known you
in this case, i've always spent summers in southwest Missouri, and that person had spent summers in New England, and the lyrics gave specifics to those places, even though the actual geographical places are actually metaphors for the distance, and the disconnect, and the process of moving on. we live, we love, we lose, we let go, we learn, we gain, we grow, we go.