Our 3-year-old is often bringing home one particularly malignant bug or another from preschool but usually I avoid its ravages – not this time. I had a raging fever last night, a crushing headache, and tossed and turned until I finally poured out of bed late this morning. Miraculously, once I was up and running I started feeling much better and by this afternoon, I felt like taking advantage of a beautiful day and went to the park for a walk.
Usually summer in Ohio means turbid humidity, but today the air was buoyant and translucent – everything had a sharp, shiny edge. Instead of oppressive HEAT, there was a breezy caressing warmth, and the brilliant cerulean sky was broken only by Little Fluffy Clouds.
As I leisurely circumnavigated the lake, I couldn’t keep the Orb’s brilliant musical evocation of cottony skies-gone-by from my mind: the pulsing, surging synths expanding to the horizon, the samples of Ricki Lee Jones’ solipsistic, wan musings on the skies of her youth, as if the very atmosphere had since conspired against her.
I was also reminded of the time, maybe 15 years ago, when I spent an extra half-hour at LAX waiting for my ride – my flight had actually arrived early. Ricki Lee Jones sat outside the luggage area, slumped against the wall, clothed in thrift-funk, her head buried in her arms, her long hair flying off in odd drections like she had frightenend it, while a disembodied voice repeated over and over and over…
“Ricki Lee Jones, please meet your party in the luggage area.”
Finally, the “party” came outside, found her slumped like a Mexican lawn ornament and roused her; she blinked, made noises of recognition. Several of us were relieved to see she was alive, and, um, well.
I think about her whenever I’m at LAX, or when the sky is full of little fluffy clouds, like today.