Mitchell has long resisted naming any of the people in this or any of her songs, saying it's best to keep them anonymous because people are free to imagine themselves as the characters in the songs when they don't know what she had in mind.
On September 29, 2019, David Crosby said he was the man
in the first verse. He had long been the prime suspect.There's a man who's been out sailing
In a decade full of dreams
And he takes her to a schooner
And he treats her like a queen
Bearing beads from California
With their amber stones and green
He has called her from the harbor
He has kissed her with his freedom
He has heard her off to starboard
In the breaking and the breathing
Of the water weeds
While she was busy being free
There's an interesting connection in this revelation to the Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young song "Déjà vu
." Crosby said that inspiration for that sung struck him while sailing.
Also, the Crosby, Stills, & Nash song "Wooden Ships
was written by Crosby while on his boat.