Thank You, Aretha Franklin

Let me put things in context. I started out early on 8/16 making the usual stops along Bainbridge Blvd. I continued south across Veterans Bridge and headed toward Inland Rd. I was making the circuit I often make. I spent a fair amount of time on Inland, much of it waiting and watching. I didn’t mind, though. The sun was up, the tide was low, and I was hopeful. Always hopeful. Here’s one capture. The wait, as is so often the case, was worth it.

young Osprey in flight
young Osprey in flight

Afterward, I decided against going to The Preserve on the Elizabeth, and drove straight to the Top Rack Marina.

I parked near a flock of feeding Canada Geese. At this point, you can’t tell the hatch-year birds from the adults. They’re all big.

Canada Goose feeding
Canada Goose feeding

It had become a hot morning. The river at the marina was quiet, but the young Ospreys in the cell tower were hungry–and noisy. I decided to leave, but not before taking pictures of everything from blue crabs in the water to Canada Geese in flight.

blue crab in the Elizabeth River
blue crab in the Elizabeth River
Canada Geese in flight
Canada Geese in flight

A Tender Moment

I got in my truck, opened the rear window to let in some air, and turned the radio on. It was tuned to a talk radio station. What came out of the speakers was unexpected. I heard the classic Carole King & Gerry Goffin song, ‘(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.’ And I knew right away. We had just lost Aretha Franklin. And I had just lost a part of my childhood. It was a tender moment–and a tender ride home.

I remember ‘Respect’ making it to the top of the charts in the 60’s. And I remember every hit after that. I remember being captivated by her early 70’s gospel album. Gospel music had a profound influence on her music, as it has had on soul and pop.

No one could sing like Ms. Franklin. It’s been said of Whitney Houston that she was the ‘master of melisma.’ I disagree. Aretha was the master of melisma. No, she was the queen of melisma. And she was the indisputable Queen of Soul. There are many good artists out there. She was a great artist. A towering artist. Thank you, Aretha Franklin. You will be missed. May you rest in peace.

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