Saturday, June 3, 2017

Cross the Sea

I don't believe I've ever been so glad to see May end.

That's a pretty remarkable statement coming from someone who's always adored stretching out her birthday and diving into the start of warm weather, but, man, this has been a tough May.

June kicked off with a leisurely lunch on the Chickahominy, talking with the couple I'd gone to visit about everything from what she was reading that I haven't - Joan Didion's "White Album" (the successor to "Slouching Toward Bethlehem," which I have read) - to a house concert with an environmentally conscious vegan potluck.

She had me in stitches talking about the oblivious hipsters who'd brought dried out Trader Joe's jicama, wrapped in plastic and boasting an enormous carbon footprint as their offering. "My beet hummus was the only homemade thing there!" she marveled.

Of course there were Oreos because no vegan potluck is complete without them.

Now that I see how far out they live, I am terribly impressed at how often I run into them at events in the city.

The first Music in the Garden at the Valentine for the season not only delivered good tunes (the always satisfying odd time signatures of Rattlemouth's world beats and an all-acoustic version of reggae band Mighty Joshua, complete with acoustic bass guitar and pump organ, but the soft opening of Garnetts at the Valentine.

It was also a chance for Mac and I to catch up after May had messed with us both, leaving us with the mixed emotions of having weathered a sea of storms.

Good thing we're both optimists.

We ate at a table with an older woman with a pronounced Boston accent despite having left that city to go to college in West Virginia where she met her husband and then settled in Virginia. Fifty years later, her vowels were still instantly recognizable as Beantown's.

Low humidity and a gentle breeze made it a beautiful night for live music in the Valentine's garden under an enormous magnolia tree in full bloom that we guessed had to be pre-Civil War judging by its girth. During the break between bands, we headed inside the museum so she could see "Hearts on our Sleeves," the new fashion exhibit I was happy to see a third time.

That 1970 cocktail dress with ruffled bell sleeves had my name written all over it.

And because there's no reason to go to only one show when you can go to two, I also landed at Flora for the Kia Cavallaro EP release show. Incredibly, it was my first time in Flora's back room for music, a fact that boggled not only my mind but that of one of the long-time managers, too.

"How is that possible?" she wanted to know.

I have to assume I've been remiss on my musical devotion and that's nothing I want to brag about. See: life's been a little rough lately. Begone, May.

Kia's sound had been described as homespun songs that weave together dreams and roots music and her fretless banjo certainly contributed to that rootsiness, while her little girl voice gave the songs an appealing earnest innocence.

But where she was truly in a league of her own was that she wore tap shoes and tapped out some rhythm to accompany herself and ensure that every part of her body was making music. It was nothing short of delightful and in the most unexpected way.

Next up was Kenneka Cook whom, coincidentally, I'd first seen last year at one of the Valentine's Music in the Garden shows as she layered her rich voice over beats.

Ordering wine, I got into conversation with three guys I know to varying degrees. One said he had a long history with smart women, one accused me of making people like me and one chided me for not replying to his "what are you up to?' message the day before.

I wanted to explore the first, I disagreed with the second and I reminded the third that I can't spend the abundant time on social media that he does.

Right now, I'm just trying to sort through the wreckage of May and come out happier in June. I keep reminding myself that all I can do is keep my head down and continue working on becoming a better me. I need to do this because it's overdue.

And as Didion famously wrote, "We tell ourselves stories in order to live." I tell myself scores every single day.


  1. ...Yes May was a bit drawn out wasn't it? Juz thirty-one days??? Breathless at moments...molasses at other. Beating up on ones self can be a bore though. Let young boys abuse themselves....they won't go blind. Adults have more precious things to deal with --- TIME. We're in your corner here...keep marching on.


  2. Hup, two, three, four! I'm on it, cw. Always forward, always thinking...