So. Yeah, I abandoned this blog, ignored it, for well over a year. These things happen, as they say.
I started it with the best of intentions, as I imagine most all blogs are started. New to New Orleans, land of dreamy dreams, I saw everything with fresh eyes and enthusiasm and wanted to share that, at least a little.
And then… Well, nothing in particular. Just life, I guess. My eyes grew accustomed to what I was seeing around me every day. Sights that had previously filled me with wonder didn’t even register as unusual anymore.
And that’s because, after a while, they weren’t. It’s a sad and yet necessary fact of life that we grow used to things (and people, but this is not a post about that). We take them for granted. We become complacent to our surroundings. We quit really seeing them, with the fervor and with the intention that we start out with. It even happens in a place like New Orleans, although I will say, there are still those moments of magic.
The other night, for instance, Sunday night at 9:40PM, I heard music. Brass band. Outside. One thing that hasn’t diminished in the time I’ve lived here is the rush I get when I hear music outside, close by. Running to look out my door, I saw a small second-line coming down the street, the band playing loudly, strong. No idea why there was a parade on a Sunday night at 9:40, but it made me smile. (Key fact: there doesn’t have to be a reason for a parade in this town, and certainly not in Treme.)
I’ve read that the brains of children are so open, compared to the brains of adults. They are literally taking in much more information than we are, as they seek to order and learn about the world. As we age, though, and again, by necessity, the brain starts taking short cuts. It uses quick pathways to navigate us through life and uncertainty, filtering out all around us that is banal and usual. One cure for this is travel, which may explain why I love it so much. It forces you to be childlike, to be more open, to take in more information, because it’s all new. Making yourself slow down and pay attention to your existing surroundings is likely another cure. I’ll try to do more of this. Resolution #1: Be more childlike.
So, as I thought about this blog, and the new year, and what matters to me, I didn’t want to just let it go. I may not see New Orleans with a newcomer’s wide eyes now, but I still love the city. I love the people I’ve met here. That’s what makes me happiest now about New Orleans, actually. Sure, there’s the beautiful houses, the live oaks, the food, the music, the quirkiness. But the people, the friends I’ve made here… They’re it. They make the city feel like home.
I also see the troubles, which do become harder to ignore the longer you’re here. Crime’s the big one, poverty, racism, corruption. We’re not all dreamy dreams down here, but then, you need the dark against the light to make you appreciate it. Still, I wish the dark was a little less so for many of my fellow residents.
There’s so much to talk about, and so much to love, and so much to dig into, in New Orleans, and in all the books I’m constantly reading, and in the world. I plan to do more of it here, starting now. Scout’s honor.
Here’s to 2013. Hope it’s everything you want it to be.