Thursday, April 21, 2016

Condition of the Heart

Peace is the word, or at least it was on my convoluted walk today.

Stop one was the open house for VCU's new learning garden, situated on a lot next to parking garage on Harrison Street across from the expressway.

Raised beds of lettuce, blueberries and kale, strawberries growing in burlap sacks, a mini-greenhouse with seedlings sprouting (much like the ones in my dining room) and fig trees being planted in half barrels.

A vertical flower garden hung on pallets, providing pollination opportunities for the bees in the little wooden house nearby. We were told that pharmacy students help maintain the gardens as part of their service hours, but also so they can learn the importance of diet in health care. Even some of the frat houses nearby volunteer and that's about the last thing I'd have expected from frat boys.

After enjoying a Mason jar of minted water, I moseyed up to the end of Carytown, past people eating on the Fancy Biscuit's new patio, and back through the Museum district.

A motorcycle sported a green "peace" license plate bigger than its actual Virginia plate, there was a peace sign created out of bricks painted blue and laid out in an empty tree well and some child had drawn a multi-color peace sign in chalk on the sidewalk.

A couple of landscapers on Hanover near Floyd had the radio in their truck blasting as they worked, causing me to cross the street when I heard Patrice Rushen's "Forget Me Nots" from, what, 1982?

I told the guys that I'd crossed because the song was part of my club-going youth and one of the guys - standing in the tiny, elevated front yard above me - invited me to dance with him so we did, albeit me on the sidewalk and him on the dirt four feet up.

When you're out walking, you take your dancing where it's offered.

Then you come home and find out the there's a new world order, at least musically speaking, because Prince has died. It doesn't seem possible.

Twice I saw his Royal Purpleness, both times at the Mosque in the '90s and both times with the most diverse crowd of any concerts I have been to in my long and storied show-going past. His charisma, energy and musicality made the evenings still memorable twenty years later.

His music remains part of what gets us through this thing called life.

I'd be his devotee if the only thing he'd ever written had been the masterfully metaphoric "Little Red Corvette" and the sublimely passionate "I Would Die 4 U" but in a bigger sense, Prince was the ongoing soundtrack to my youth.

Remembering how far away "1999" sounded when he was singing it in 1983, it's hard to believe that just as much time has passed since we passed that landmark year

I guess it's a sign of the times that we're losing the great ones from my generation now.

Peace out, Prince. You were too young to go.

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