Kaleidoscope of pink moons

It doesn’t matter what shirt I wear and hasn’t for some time. In fact, my very best are wrapped in plastic, hung by wire, waiting for a day that will never come. Me looking my best for a job interview, me wrapped in plastic too.

It is like this now, emerald green in a hundred forms. Birds and the coming of bugs, for us in the west a lost year comes to a close. Dry cleaning still in plastic from 2020, when going to the office ended one day and never resumed. Shoes I haven’t worn, business jackets. Our closet now a scrapbook of times mostly gone. Needed now more for the odd wedding or funeral than the business meeting. Our closet the C.S. Lewis kind I can lose myself in through the clothes I wore and the memories they stir, they take me back.

That spring Dawn and I visited France for the first time and mom would have been at the airport in Barcelona with our friend Laurent and the old green Mercedes, the same one we drove down to Morocco the time before.

They lived a few towns up from the Spanish border in a village on the sea, and going there in the spring was like compressing every indulgence into one long week that went by too fast. It was warmer and the season more advanced than back home. And mom had just discovered Nick Drake and introduced us to his Pink Moon CD, a whole new world of brooding. At least enough to fill a small village.

I save his music for the fall now, as it bears that same melancholy, the beauty in the passing final moments. But this year we’re reading a book on Pink Moon for our weekly book club and it’s taken me back to that first spring in France.

Dawn and I in the living room with someone in the kitchen fixing dinner and everyone in African robes. Dogs and cats and lizards outside. Large cacti in the front yard and all the houses with terraces facing the sea. The sky a deep Mediterranean blue. And you can see why the painters gravitated there for the colors and drama of it all, the romance. We had a week and few pictures to show for it, but Pink Moon is the soundtrack. And like our time there, the record goes by quick but runs deep.

Nick Drake. The wonder of discovery of this lost soul for many of us in the late 90s. Ghostly and withdrawn he passes through like something remarkable outside your window you’re likely to miss. The songs from his albums are indistinct but wash over me the way memories can, indistinct too. The pink wine we drank, lamb with mint jelly, the walk we took after dinner through town. The small dark bar on a side street playing dub reggae by candlelight. Dawn and I just starting out.

There is not much more at the end of it but what we leave behind. Donate my shirts and recycle the wire hangers. Let those memories drift and settle into someone else’s room. None of you stand so tall, pink moon gonna get you all.

Categories: Memoir, writing

Tags: , ,

26 replies

  1. Are you reading the Rasmussen book?
    I had to google Pink Moon – new to me! – listened to the title track then read reviews of this bio and I’m fascinated with personalities of both musician and biographer. Fascinating to ponder what if the two could have sat down together and conferred on the bio.
    Whereas “closet now a scrapbook of times mostly gone” is VERY familiar … an evolving scrapbook since peak career days in ’80s (I actually wore two-piece suits to work – bottom piece a skirt, but matched to jacket). Those suits eventually went to GoodWill after moving to far-more-casual Austin … then the informal-but-appropriate stuff followed to GoodWill after retiring in 2002. Now my retirement transition wardrobe is mostly gone – a few dresses remain on hangers – never worn; early camping gear is now too big but stays; bin of fancy scarves and shawls stays put, occasionally rummaged through for the fun of it.
    THANKS for stirring up closet memories!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Early camping gear! Puffy vests Mork and Mindy style? I don’t know the Rasmussen book I don’t think. Or maybe I do?! But I’m happy to open your ears to Pink Moon, such a lush record and mysterious artist. Bad adjective but felt compelled to put one in. Thanks for sharing your 80s snapshots and glad GoodWill could be the beneficiary. The funny magnetism about clothes, shoes, hats right? How much of ourselves seems to radiate into objects and things.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Sorry I realized which book you are asking me about. We’re reading one from the 33 1/3 record series about the making of an album by different artists. Great writer named Amanda something who also writes for the New Yorker and Pitchfork I think.


  2. Olive green was a popular colour for a whole generation of Mercedes’. The colour goes well with pink.

    My suits are covered in dust instead of plastic. And I have my winter coat and a duvet waiting for dry cleaners to reopen. As your post points out, it’s not an essential service.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I just put a new duvet on our bed! Serendipity. I like that you know that style of green I’m talking about. Imagine the scrutiny we got at the Moroccan border with Paris plates, a big long-haired Englishman, a red-headed American woman and her son, and a big Catalonian guy named Laurent. That took a while to get through.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I can sympathize with that. The only time I’ve had a problem with a border crossing was with a long-haired friend. The back seat never sat right again after the border cops had checked it for drugs.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Thank you Bill.
    I’m sure that The Ghosts in the Closets of the world are flying freer today. To do my bit, I’m pulling a forty-one year old Peter G trench coat out of its clear plastic sarcophagus so it can come to Bendigo with me. There, once again, I can play at being Lieutenant Columbo.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ha ha that’s superb David! Hi and thanks for that great bit, there. Beautiful! Hope you’re well and nice hearing from you my friend. Bill


  4. Cheers Bill. At the end of one of the thought spurs that reading your piece created for me was the cry of cocatoos welcoming my wife on country; they seem to have adopted her to their totem.
    I somehow think that they’d welcome you too, at least on a pink moon.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Any time a writer mentions a musician or an album, I immediately go listen to it. I’d never heard of Nick Drake, but I’m listening now. Thanks for the mention.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Just sat down to finish the 33 1/3 book and was pleased to read this as an appetizer. A nice companion piece that sums up how many wrap up memories inside of music. No dry cleaner plastic required.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Wonderful, Bill. So good I’m not going to try for a green Mercedes vs pink VW line.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I just saw this post and altrockchick’s massive 2-parter on Nick Drake in my reader almost back to back, so I take that as a sign. I’m listening.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Best way to get to know him is listen to some of his songs! Hope you enjoy, buddy thanks for reading and be well. Bill


      • Yessir, I was literally listening while writing. Heard of Nick Drake but never heard him. Liked what I heard. I was impressed by the recording quality, it seemed so rich for the time. Listening to the music, my mind went from early Tom Waits, to James Taylor, to 90s “emo”, and on to other places. Seemed like a man out of time, borrowing from those who came both before and after. Strange and surreal. Good stuff.

        Liked by 2 people

      • Great thoughts there. Funny because the book touches on some of those same artists you mention and how he was of the singer-songwriter ilk, or that’s how they were trying to slot him in and market him. Cool you’ve had a taste now. And the recording quality is quite stark and intimate isn’t it. Thanks for this!

        Liked by 1 person

  9. A fantastic piece weaved Bill on the Spanish border, pandemic and Nick Drake, taking us on an adventure through your powerful writing. Hope you are well.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Never heard of Nike Drake, and the only Pink I listened to back in those days was Pink Floyd. Sounds like those old memories are as comfortable as old shoes.

    Liked by 2 people

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