March 13, 2009
New Orleans – Enchanted Field Trip

I stepped off the plane like someone who is always stepping off the plane, and up to the curb where we waited for the white truck, which was stuck in traffic. The air was almost jovial, sun trickling sideways and the scent of flowers bouncing off the breeze.

“This place reminds me of California crossed with Buenos Aires,” I thought, as if I had spent hours and weeks exploring its essence.

The wind in the truck was warm, and I sat in the back while the men spoke in the foreign language they had created through years and years of self-referential inside jokes. I smiled as if I had always known the comfort of this chatter, a chatter I would probably never fully make sense of. It was the symbol of a special bond that I would honor and never insult with a failed attempt to infiltrate, something I would appreciate from the outside, like the way my parents loved each other when I was a child.

I landed in this place of foreign comfort – and was not perplexed by the paradox of it. My mind was curious, “How could it feel so normal to be some place I’ve never been?” Yet, my heart and soul were settled, like something had been decided without having consulted my mind.

The entire essence of the place, for me, could be summed up in those first few moments. The air, the light, the love I felt but couldn’t understand the language of. Walking through the streets and through the park, walking and walking for days after my arrival, the same feeling was there, always.

Even the ghost I came upon in a corridor beneath a stairway was laughing at me as I went by, as if to say, “Silly woman, we’ve been waiting for you.”

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