“It seems like a lifetime ago—which of course it was, all that and more. For a boy, life on the farm was idyllic, but for the young man I became, that very peace and predictability were stifling, unbearable. I had big dreams, and needed a big place to explore them: the whole wide world. Near our village of Barrel Arbor, the steamliners touched down and traveled on rails along the Winding Pinion River toward Crown City. Watching them pass in the night, how prayed to get away . . . ”
Copper relates to beauty, yet the protagonist of the story wants to leave the farm he’s been happy living on up to this point. He’s a young man and wants to see the world, so he’s blind right now to the beauty, the bucolic setting, that’s surrounded him through his young life. The world lit only by fire, from the lyrics, appears to refer to the flying steamships. If they’re anything like a steam-driven locomotive, they’re powered by red-hot bricks of coal and belch scorching vapor clouds.
The town “Barrel Arbor” is a play on words, because a barrel arbor is a piece used in watchmaking to turn the gears.