Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona, and Idaho appears as a line in the last verse of Dylan’s Let Me Die in My Footsteps from 1963, officially released on the first, and best!, of the Bootleg Series in 1991.
In a song tangling as well topical protest song and nature impressionism, Lay Down Your Weary tune-style, same year, the taut 'I' in the song praises the four American states. The I is a proud walker and traveler who insists of ending life forward-going, with his head high, in his footsteps, not while participating in a war, on his knees, serving someone else. Interestingly, one can only “walk alone”, although others can be in company. The footsteps is your own. The interesting tension between Dylan the individual artist, and his ambivalent relation to various movements (musicians, protest/peace) is maybe mirrored here?
Four states where Dylan as far as I know did not hang out much at that time (?) is praised in that last verse. But anyway, Dylan has been everywhere (at least in his imagination and writing). I think he had a funny story about New Mexico at that time and later he "happens to be a Swede myself", as he said.
Now these four states are the places of craters and canyons, waterfalls, where the land meets the sun as, and with meadow and green leaves, as written in the previous verse of the song. The four states are of course also fitting writing and as sound with the a-o-a-o final letter rhyme. Additionally, one state is bordering another and you can actually go through from the South border of the US to North through these four states.
16 March 2006
Anders Hög Hansen