I am participating in Kat McNally’s April Moon 14, a two week reflective writing challenge. Each day, Kat sends an email with a single word prompt to spark some time during the powerful time between the total lunar eclipse and the full moon. Participate with us!
The prompt for day six is
What feelings does this word evoke? What sorts of memories does it recall? Which of your senses start to tingle? How would you represent what this word means to you?
To be honest I’m struggling with this one. Sweet Husband and I are in New Orleans to celebrate our second wedding anniversary and all that I can think of is our tour guide in the Garden District yesterday who told us that New Orleans is losing her soul in the effort to attract tourist dollars to aid in the rebuilding (for those not from here, areas of New Orleans were devastated in August of 2005 due to flooding caused by the levee failures during Hurricane Katrina. Even areas that we’re not directly impacted like the French Quarter and the Garden District suffered huge financial loses because people weren’t here. Long-time residents were gone – our tour guide said he was away for 31 months. Tourists didn’t come). When I think about what our tour guide said, I think it can be a matter of nuance. When you are flush and times are good, you have the luxury of distinction. You can parse and discriminate and split hairs. But when you feel like you are in crisis, when you are fighting for your survival, nuance and seeing the slight variation in choices – the shades of grey – gets to be a much dicier proposition.
I have been there more times than I care to admit. Life has been reduced to a series of black or white choices for me, and while I think I have made the best decisions I could have (and according to my philosophical beliefs, I have made the decisions I was supposed to make at those points in my life because if I was supposed to walk I a different path, simply out – I would have), I appreciate the benefit of perspective and nuance – the luxury of being able to consider all the possibilities, the subtleties that present themselves as part of different options. It’s not to say that I am never prone to those fight-or-flight moments; they are powerful parts of our make-up. But I am better at calming myself down and helping myself realize there are other ways of looking at the situation.
As for New Orleans, I hope she and her leaders arrive at a point where they can once again celebrate the nuances that made her one of the great American cities. As Tennessee Williams said, “America has only three cities: New York, San Francisco, & New Orleans. Everywhere else is Cleveland.” There is richness here beyond compare – not something to be watered down and made palpable to those who can’t handle her. There’s a place for the wildness and the perversion of tradition that happens on Bourbon Street but there’s so much more to this town, so much more in her soul. I’ve been coming for over a decade now and I miss the way she was. My fervent wish is she finds her way back.
*I apologize for the lack of links. WordPress is not cooperating on my phone and making my blogging life difficult.