New Orleans is a city of clouds. There’s blue skies above me, but I am ringed by white mountains of clouds, snow-covered mountains of clouds, some cumulus still rising so you know summer is still here. That summer in Marksville, there were no clouds. No cries of Blue Jays, just the mournful cry of whip–or–will. No birdsong, no filtered mad impressionist canvases of sunrises or sunsets; the sun rose like a hard ball in a merciless sky. Depressing. No all day rain soakers, except for one day that was splendid. Watching King Creole on the anniversary of Elvis’ death–the tenth anniversary–a scene with The King and Dolores Hart–all those clouds rising behind them, we knew it was New Orleans, where indeed the movie had been filmed. Mama saying, when I was a little girl, when he first hit, he uses rollers on his hair like I do.
Last night, looking out after the mushroom cloud disappeared when I took my rosary in hand, I realized something. I had started a tradition. I kept my porch lights on, the twinkling white lights, the seasonal orange, then purple, green, gold of Mardi Gras, on constantly. Driving home at night on Napoleon Avenue, it is a pretty sight. And then the people across the field from me where the little boys play football started lighting theirs every night. Then, a house adjacent from them, still across from me, hang a strand of white lights like pearls on their porch and these are lit every night. But last night, I saw, in the block over, another house lit with sparkling white lights. It’s all rather lovely, isn’t it? My neighbors tell me how much they love my lights. I think we should all flings pure light into the night as a metaphor–I remember the nights when I had to sleep in the recliner when it was still very cool and I left the porch door open with the lights lit…heaven. I did not enjoy this past winter; it was fraught with too much pain and fear that I would never get better. But I am looking forward to this one. Remembering today the beautiful November day I moved here five years November 18. It was dazzling, windy, cool and I hadn’t experienced so much joy at being in a place since before Mom died. There was a period in 2001-2002 when I knew intense joy, rapture, but it fell through didn’t it, through no fault of my own. And at the same time, I’m glad I am not the kind of person to compromise themselves by living in a fantasy and demanding the same kind of integrity from anyone else involved. And leaving when they can’t provide it. Dumbasses.
I feel that I should be doing all sorts of things but something keeps saying, slow down, rest. Okay. But these clouds are glorious, like trillions and trillions of soft cotton just piled up.
Don’t you get tired of it all?