A week ago, driving over the Berkshire hills to my printer in Lenox, I heard the news that Prince had died. It sort of crept out for me, the news, in that I hadn’t heard anything before I left the house. When I got in the car, I heard a few Prince songs in a row on the radio, somehow that seemed odd, then a reference to him in the past tense. I was like, get your verb tenses straight guys! It did not seem possible, the death of another not very old, very great musician who lived his music, and said to be a genius.
It was true. I felt an oh, no! that I may have blurted out as I drove along. That combination of rock, r&b, straight on blues, funk: like no other. Prince was that much more close to me in age, in sensibility, than David Bowie or Glenn Frey, both amazing artists as well but with whom I didn’t have the same affinity. Purple Rain, yeah, and that beyond words Super Bowl performance, oh, yeah.
There is a moment that makes this connection for me more than any other, even beyond the plain flat-out freaking danceability of any given Prince composition. Summer 1986, “Kiss” was on the airwaves, one of my all time favorites. On the radio, in my orange Opel, poor man’s BMW, my very first car that I bought and owned outright, at 24, a few months before I left for Paris.
Late August, windows down, flying along an upstate NY country road, my crush in the passenger seat. Yes, I was driving. Listen:
You don’t have to be rich
To be my girl
You don’t have to be cool
To rule my world
Ain’t no particular sign I’m more compatible with
I just want your extra time and yourKiss
Women not girls rule my world
I said they rule my world
Act your age, mama (not your shoe size)
Not your shoe size
Maybe we could do the twirl
Damn! He was the coolest, hands down, and the best guitar player in the world.
So sorry that he is gone. I saw a bit of the SNL tribute show this past weekend; the video of Prince doing “Let’s Go Crazy” last winter after the anniversary show, so far off the cool hook it’s just in another solar system. The Prince Show skits with Fred Armisen and Maya Rudolph, ridiculously hilarious. especially the one with Robert DeNiro…absurd.
I have had the Parade CD in the car player for a few moons now, it was there when I heard the news. I hit “Kiss” whenever I need to wake up, on all levels. You know? Anyways, it is so sad.
That night I got home, the end of a lovely soft spring day, and then the full moon rose. April’s moon is the Pink– named for wild ground Phlox, an early widespread flower– and it feels full of early, tender growth.
The following day I was up in Kinderhook at Samascott Orchards. Round here, the peaches and apricots will not make it this year due to the sudden very deep, sharp, albeit brief, cold In February, and the snow in April didn’t help matters much. The apples, we’re waiting to see. Blueberries too took a hit. The Montmorencies thankfully seem not only ok, but so far very good.
The beautiful bluebirds nested in the western house, despite attempted intrusions by finch, starling and other interlopers. They are elusive to get a photo, those sweet bluebirds, I could sit and watch for hours but as soon as I reach for my phone they are away. Here is a male high up in the maple, from a distance.
Their blue is the opposite of sad, taking my breath away as they flash out of the shadows to dip and soar over the greening fields. Blue can be as sweet as pink, and not sad at all xo