I’ve been in New Orleans for almost two weeks now. Jazz Fest is over and tomorrow I start working back at Sobou.
Back to reality.
However, even with all the previous anticipation for this time to come, I am finding myself really happy. Maybe it’s because of the weather and smells the summer brings. Maybe it is because I’ve been living up Jazz Fest the past two weekends, or maybe because of the reunion with my family and friends in this beautiful city…I think this elation could be a mix of all those things.
This was one of the first times I returned from an adventure and realized that no matter how many places I fall in love with around the world, New Orleans will always be my home.
I mean, I guess my love for New Orleans is pretty obvious. I spend a large amount of time telling my friends from around the world just how AWESOME and SPECIAL New Orleans is. So, of course I’m happy to be back!
As many people know who live or have lived in New Orleans, this city gives the effect of an emotional rollercoaster. The highs, the lows, the in-betweens are all amplified a thousand fold. For my 10 years here, I’ve tried to understand ‘why’ but there really is no straight answer.
It’s the moon, it’s the weather, it’s the booze, it’s the swamp, it’s the bayou, it’s because the city is below sea level, it’s the ghosts, history, voodoo, food, and/or music. There are so many possible explanations.
So, even in the midst of writing this, whatever that New Orleans magic is, is giving me a twinge of longing for the people and places I spent the last two months visiting.
I think most people are used to having the typical milestones in life. Whether it is to buy a house, get married, or have a baby, to smaller life events like going to the Mardi Gras for the first time or Jazz Fest or whatever story a “New Orleans visit” provides for you to tell for the rest of your life.
However, when you LIVE here, when this is home, and story after story, event after event, even tragedy after tragedy is happening constantly, there is no respite. There is no time to process the joys and sorrows because once one epiphany or ecstatic moment or heartbreak is over; the next one has already begun and the city gets you wrapped up in ‘the moment’ AGAIN.
Right, so the ramble above comes down to THE MOMENT. It is all we have. And New Orleans can be a big reminder of that fact.
Several months ago I remember saying to my friend Erin,
“Oh I miss him so much! I miss that place and those people over there. What am I to do?!”
Erin said, “Well, enjoy the longing.”
“Just enjoy that feeling. The longing. The pining. Try to enjoy it.”
I don’t think I have been able to really practice that until now. Until now, when the past two months I had been preparing for since last September have already come and gone. I’m back in New Orleans, again I am longing, again I am pining, but it is ok.
It is GOOD.
Joni Mitchell’s song, “California” is a great example describing what I’m feeling. If the title and chorus were changed to New Orleans, it would be perfect.
Thanks New Orleans for always taking me as I am.
California by Joni Mitchell