There Will Always Be More Music
Way back in 2007, I wrote a post about being lovestruck. I waxed poetical about a place that is near and dear to my heart. It was one of my favorite pieces, and I think it's funny that one of my favorite love letters is not to a person, but to a place. That place is New Orleans.
I went back to New Orleans last month for a week to celebrate my 40th birthday with my best friend, my mom, and my aunt and uncle. I think I've traveled to NOLA about 11 times or so over the last 8 or 9 years, and each time, like each meeting with a soul mate, it gets better.
In a recent workshop on finding safety within oneself, the attendees were asked to think of a situation or place where we felt totally in rapport with ourselves. Confident, strong, and centered. My first thought was of walking through New Orleans. When I walk the streets there, I feel comfortable in my body. I walk confidently and my strides are longer. I don't obsess as much about whether I look OK or not. I think it has to do with the warm weather, although I have been there in February and shivered as I strode the familiar streets, so that's not completely it. But the feel of the warm breeze on my skin, wearing flip flops and tank tops and skirts and never fearing the cold, there's heaven in that. There's something about the overarching shade trees, the lazy, dirty river, the slow awakening each morning after yet another music-saturated 3 am night, the boats moving past, and the ding-dong of the churchbells that makes me feel so at home. It's not the drinking, because after a few days of that, it gets old. It's something else about the place.
But in thinking about how my reaction to this town has changed over time, I can't help but relate that to how our relationship with everything changes over time. I remember visiting New Orleans once and feeling horrified the first time I actually got bored there. Or leaving a music venue at midnight, worried that it meant I was getting old, since I used to stay out until 3 am pretty regularly. But then telling myself that it was my experience and I could do whatever I wanted. That there were no rules here, and that there would always be more music. We tend to forget that all things change and shift, and no matter how much we try to hold on to how we want things to be, we will never be able to. In my relationship with New Orleans, I see things shifting, and maybe because my emotions aren't as painfully triggered as in my relationship with humans, I can see the change and I can accept it. The town and I love one another, but love, as well all know, is a many-splendored thing. Never the same thing twice.