Hello out there, good day Sunday, I’m writing from my hometown, NYC, before our second to last show of this rather impromptu little tour. I went to the park first thing this morning, of course, I rejoiced in my larger heart, the one that modeled mine inside. Central park. I love thee. I don’t see people there, I don’t hear people, I see the squirrels and the crumpled leaves, the breathy blue sky through shivering branches, how naked are these cultured trees, and sculpted, it seems, to please. I see Wolman’s rink and I’m gonna skate between shows, and balding earth with scruffy green brown hair. I see granite backs inlaid with diamonds, so warm to sit on, so fun to climb.
I walked and walked and more and more did people disappear, and only the park and I were there, and I saw so many things I’d never noticed, like when children are finally old enough to ask their parents and grandparents questions about their lives, their worlds. That how it was with me and the park today. I walked to the hill which overlooks my old building, the one I grew in, and I heard the sound of my childhood. A soft swoosh of cars and little dings far off, a kind of spread out hush, this corner enclosed in a magical brightness, an innocent lightness that I belonged in with all three corners and all that is of them, including the weather and the time.
I can speak freely to my old building, and with the brownstones, who knows me better, who has seen me more in all my stages, and I said some things I never thought I’d say. I am always home. On my way to there I passed a playground I’d never wanted to play in, but now every thing was torn out but the flagstones. I could not get over the aura of these big, elegant flagstones laid as the entry to a playground 100 years ago, what it would take for an ordinary person to walk upon them now, on their own property. So I knelt down at their edge and kissed the east coast colored sand and I thanked New York for giving me everything and keeping me safe.
After the first show I went to the park, it was darkened, the street lamps were lit, the trees were etched in black coal against the violet sky. Wolman’s rink rang with pleasure, winter coats frisking the glowing white ice, and people on the side benches drinking cocoa and waiting their turn, or just watching. We skated here allot as kids over the Christmas vacation, and on snowy weekends, and when the cousins came from Mass they tore up the ice compared to us city slickers, although we thought we were fast, they were Hockey players.
I saw through the thin, long finger like branches a horse drawn carriage dashing down Central Park South, made into a silhouette by the gold lit building behind it. What a magnificence, all these elements over all these years coming together every second, no wonder I never went to museums as a kid, no wonder I never felt the need to search for art.
This afternoon, on my way back from the old neighborhood, I slipped down the steps at the fountain across from the boat house (I can tell you exactly where everything is, but I never learned the proper names of most places in my city) and as I passed a sultry saxophone blowing, four skinny dog legs twittered across the brick, and the sound of those together was a jazz moment I died for. I feel very private here. I have to get ready for the next show now, ugh, to pull myself away from the impressions I don’t want to forget.
I just got a call, showtime has been pushed back a bit. Where was I? Ah, the music which is every moment in the park and on the streets, not the car stereos, but the impromptu jams and wry duets between passing spirits. I like the West Side, its the best side for my rhythm, the East side has always felt colder, more austere uptown, and self congratulatory downtown. The west side is just more comfortable with itself. I think the reason why people don’t have an affect on me in this town is because we are more the background, while the greatness of the design, over time, the subway of Beach, the park of Olmstead, the great slabs of granite from Maine, all diminutize the people, as the remains of Greece and Rome are still fascinating long after the denizens have paled.
And to take it even further, if I dare, the people can really mess up a place. That is why real New Yorkers, not all these ones who claim to be or fame to be, treat the city with a personal sanctity, and they treat other people who happen to be here with that same respect, as well, in order to set an example, to be sure. To take this to the end of my quirky feelings, if I may be so bold, a true to the heart New Yorker is not rude. And it cuts me to the quick to hear band mates recite stories of meanness about cab drivers and cops, and so I say those are impostors, no matter how long they’ve lived here.
Well, next stop is another favorite land of mine, of my future, however, and I CAN’T WAIT! Down Under, Here I Come. Sophie