Tag Archives: New Orleans

Detour

Our current road trip will end tomorrow as Tom and I head back to Charlottesville. Spring awaits with its cleaning, taxes, and, best of all, the garden.

daffodils

daffodils

What a strange (but not too long) a trip it’s been: squealing differential in Florida, airborne tent in Texas, hankering to be one with the earth everywhere, while still craving that internet political fix.

Today, I am taking a detour to New Orleans. Tom didn’t quite take me to the Mardi Gras (it’s on February 28 this year), but close enough for a woman who doesn’t smoke, mostly doesn’t drink, and who surely can’t dance (except maybe to Motown).

almost Mardi Gras

almost Mardi Gras

I love New Orleans. Maybe it started with my mom’s New Orleans pralines.  Or, maybe it was Paul Simon’s, “Take Me to the Mardi Gras“:

Come on, take me to the Mardi Gras
Where the people sing and play
Where the dancing is elite
And there’s music in the street
Both night and day

Hurry, take me to the Mardi Gras
In the city of my dreams
You can legalize your lows
You can wear your summer clothes
In the New Orleans

And I will lay my burden down
Rest my head upon that shore
And when I wear that starry crown
I won’t be wanting anymore

Take your burdens to the Mardi Gras
Let the music wash your soul
You can mingle in the street
You can jingle to the beat
Of Jelly Roll

© 1973 Words and Music by Paul Simon

I loved the food. People were singing and playing. There was music in the street.

Cafe Du Monde

Cafe Du Monde

shrimp po boy, Cafe Fleur De Lis, French Quarter

shrimp po boy, Cafe Fleur De Lis, French Quarter

music, Jackson Square

music, Jackson Square

music in the street

music in the street

I let the music wash my soul and I mingled in the street. I worked on laying some of my burden down.

I remembered what I thought the first time I went–alone–to New Orleans about 14 years ago. As I wandered through the French Quarter, I thought: I know who I am throwing in my lot with. I am with the people who sing, dance, eat real food, and maybe smoke and drink and whatever, but just trying to get by with a little grace, style, and humor. I do not stand with those who think there is only one way and who denigrate those who choose a different path. That sounds like fascism to me.  I can’t explain myself well on this topic, but, lucky for me, Robin and Linda Williams have some words that work for me in Going, Going Gone:

When I pass a church house door I breathe a prayer one time more
I don’t know that I belong, but I still sing love’s
sweet old songs
If I’m not among the blessed, then I’ll be like all the rest
Getting by day to day moving down the lost highway
Going, Going, Going Gone
                                   by Robin and Linda Williams, Jerome Clark 2008
live oak (Quercus virginia)

live oak (Quercus virginia)

What I See Close to the Ground

adybug on purple hyacinth bean vine, Charlottesville

ladybug on purple hyacinth bean vine, Charlottesville

Myrtle Beach, SC #3

Myrtle Beach, SC #3

New Orleans

New Orleans

Mi Tierra, San Antonio

Mi Tierra, San Antonio

Saigon Bowl, Denver

Saigon Bowl, Denver

flax, Denver Botanic Gardens

flax, Denver Botanic Gardens

ice plant, Denver Botanic Gardens

ice plant, Denver Botanic Gardens

ravens on the South Rim

ravens on the South Rim

horned toad #2, North Rim

horned toad #2, North Rim

Red Canyon, Dixie National Forest

Red Canyon, Dixie National Forest

roses in the Kolob

roses in the Kolob

Wheeler Peak, Great Basin N.P.

Wheeler Peak, Great Basin N.P.

Lukens Lake, Yosemite

Lukens Lake, Yosemite

fritillary, Yosemite N.P.

fritillary, Yosemite N.P.

Sequoia feet

Sequoia feet

Coming soon: sentences and paragraphs.

Scat Happens

Sedona, Arizona
I’ve cheered up and warmed up since my last post.  However, as you probably figured from the title of this post, life continues to—um—provide fine opportunities for growth, such as:

      • the (mostly) nonexistent ice and snow that closed almost everything in New Orleans, but not K-Paul’s Louisiana Kitchen or Café Du Monde,
      • the bad gas from Murphy USA in Del Rio, Texas, which sickened our F-150, but we received the reimbursement for the repairs right away,
      • the day after Tom and I completed a hike in the Chisos Basin (The Window), I tripped on  nothing on a little hike and sprained my wrist*, but then when I was icing my hand on the lodge veranda, I saw a Colima warbler

        Early morning, Chisos Basin

        Early morning, Chisos Basin

      • my map-reading skills are not tip-top, but we finally got to Mesa campground in the Gila National Forest before total dark.
        Mesa campground, Gila National Forest

        Mesa campground, Gila National Forest

        The lake was way down from (I assume) the drought and the campground exuded a down-at-the-heel gloom, but I am pretty sure that on my early morning trek to the bathroom, I smelled mountain lion.  I think the scat was fresh, too. (I didn’t photograph the evidence, but here’s some from another hike):

Scat, Saguaro National Park

Scat, Saguaro National Park

Scat happens, but sometimes it turns out to be something you’ve been waiting for.

Or, as W. B. Yeats said in a slightly more high-tone way:

I am content to live it all again
And yet again, if it be life to pitch
Into the frog-spawn of a blind man’s ditch,
A blind man battering blind men;…
I am content to follow to its source
Every event in action or in thought;
Measure the lot; forgive myself the lot!
When such as I cast out remorse
So great a sweetness flows into the breast
We must laugh and we must sing,
We are blest by everything,
Everything we look upon is blest.

From “A Dialogue of Self and Soul” by William Butler Yeats in The Winding Stair and Other Poems

*I found out yesterday that I sustained a comminuted distal radius fracture.  So much for the power of positive thinking, and, yes, I am typing this with my left hand.
Note: I have more in my mind than I can get on the computer today. Please expect Scat Part II shortly.