Sitting at Envie in the quarter sipping peach iced tea, there’s not a place I’d rather be. I’ve been to NOLA a few times now, and each trip is better than the last.
Saum’s at the New Orleans's Healing Center, in a planning meeting for Anba Dlo Deux. The name Anba Dlo means “from beneath the waters” and last year festival coincided with Halloween. It was a fantastic celebration with three live music venues, street stalls, food, drink. It was amazing. This year they’re planning the second annual event. In avoidance of responsibility, I’m enjoying a much needed vacation and staying away from the planning. It’s not like I don’t want to help, but whatever Saum ends up doing, I’ll be assisting in whatever capacity I can.
I don’t know exactly what it is about New Orleans that generates so much buzz, so much energy. I feel like a different person when I’m here. There’s a part of me that’s always been here. A part I reunite with when I come. I can feel that part of myself welcoming me back, becoming whole again. This is not the first time I’ve had this feeling. I’ve experienced it while in India, sitting at a certain temple in the Himalayas. Like I’ve been sitting there forever; and always will be. That same feeling exists here, a special place on Earth that invigorates the soul, that breathes through you.
A secondary connection I have with this place is it’s connection to the Mississippi. A river that I’ve lived on my entire life, from one place to another. Here the river has the same familiar feeling, the same smell, the same moisture in the air. This feeling goes back to my birth. My parents were avid boaters on this river. I’ve swam in it from my earliest years, drank it’s water. Because of that it is a part of me. It always will be.
The water here is part of the life blood of the city. It’s kindness, it’s life giving, it’s powerful destruction. It’s a full circle the reinvents itself. I feel it’s pull and connection to my very core. It’s as much a part of me as it is the land it runs through.
So where is this taking me? Where does the current carry me to? I’m don’t feel adrift, but rather I’m taking a very deliberate direction. This isn’t happenstance, but rather a tug, pull and push towards a specific ending. It’s not passive, I’m involved with its course. I know where I’m going, I know where I am and I know where I’ve been. I feel I know myself, past, future and present. I am where I am, in the here and now. My mind is clear and abuzz at the same time … and I haven’t had any alcohol. I don’t need it. Not today, not right now. I’m perfectly rooted in the energy of the place. And I know which way the wind is blowing.