Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Settling In/ Saying Goodbye

 Adventure = an exciting or unusual experience; it may also be a bold, usually risky undertaking, with an uncertain outcome.

I can't believe its been a month since I last posted. Somewhere along the line life started to settle, like it always does, and I got into the swing of things. This is not at all to say that I feel completely at home here-- I think that would take years, if I had that to devote to this project, as well as the forging of some deep relationships, which I still have not. They say that Kung Fu masters go through a period of solitude and trying before emerging with deeper understanding, knowledge and skill. I don't care a lick about karate, but I think I sort of understand.

It's also often said (and I'm a firm believer) that the universe gives you exactly what you need in a given moment. What you need being different than what you may want. My urge to come down here was so strong, that it was like an epiphany. It was something I couldn't ignore if I had tried, which I did not. If I choose to look at this experience in terms of joyousness, excitement and endless fun, I might consider it a disappointment. I have had my fun for certain, but this has been more profound than that if I can use that term without sounding overly dramatic.

For reasons I don't need to hash out, solitude has never been much of a theme in my life.  And solitude, which can be pleasant and worth seeking out, is different than being alone. Which is different than loneliness. On this journey I have learned how to be alone. To become comfortable with me. And quite simply, I'm certain that's what the universe had in store for me down here. That, and some inspiration, the seeds for which I expect to blossom in their own time.

This evening I took a slow, perambulating ride through the Quarter. Well, that isn't exactly even true-- I was only going to the grocery store. But once I got going, it occurred to me that it was Monday night, and the tourist clog was at an all time low. The temperature was perfect, and the humidity low, like lukewarm bathwater. Musicians sitting on the pavement in vestibules strumming guitars. Wafts of hot garbage floating on the air. Checkout girls who address you as "baybee" dancing to the piped in Muzac. Riding the wrong way down the road on my creaky cycle. The strains of live music on Frenchmen's.

We all come here looking for the same things: oysters, brass bands, crawdads, second line parades, voodoo, dancing in bars with boys. I found a few of those things, sometimes.

I also found long, wandering walks with nowhere to go, cockroaches in my shower, wierdos, sometimes disappointment, the true meaning of homesickness, the crevices of my own mind, a bed meant for one, a creaky old beloved bicycle, the fortitude of my liver, anxiety, fear, nuance, the sound of a hundred thousand nightime frogs, sitting still, and about fourteen million other little details that will remain with me, under the ticky-tacky matter of my memory until I die.

Were this all sunshine and rainbows I don't think I will have emerged from this adventure feeling like a woman in a suit of armor, slightly dented and rusted out, a little ragged but so, so much better-- like a she-warrior emerged from battle, wearing the beautiful sheen patina of knowing more, more, more.

Thanks New Orleans, for this adventure. I'm ready for the next era.


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