After 10 refreshing days away from the city, Simon and I are back in New Orleans. It’s not that I didn’t realize the “emotional toll” that living in this scenery takes on you—it’s just that I didn’t realize how good it would feel to be away and to forget it for a few days. My commitment to New Orleans is strong primarily because I just love, love, love it. But I really don’t know how long I can tolerate the wreckage.
It’s been nearly a year now and I have been doing a lot of “a year ago today” stuff. A year ago today I was at the Bread Loaf Writers Conference. I was hoping to be inspired and to come back home to New Orleans a Real Writer (read: with better self-discipline and a renewed drive). Now, my writing feels like aimless and directionless crap. Perhaps it’s the blog-medium. I think it encourages mindless drivel.
Anyway, the mountains. Waterfalls and mushroom hunting and wildflower identifying and tent-sleeping and katydid chirping and creek walking and mine-hiking and Coleman cooking and picture taking and rock hopping and river wading and twisty-road driving and fudge eating (and eating and eating). We stayed at the Standing Indian Campground in the Nantahala Basin for three days. Saw Laurel Falls and Mooney Falls and Buck Creek and Pickens Nose. Then we were the guests of Aalia’s friend, Kurt, who lives in a stunning straw bale home he built near Scaly Mountain, NC. Earthen floors and pickle-jar windows. Views. Bullfrogs. We strolled the bourgeois town of Highlands, bought fudge, looked at things we couldn’t have, and then did lots of laying around the house. Kurt was a wonderful and fun host and he went with us on a day-long hike at the Horse Pasture River, where the Gorges State Park Dog, Marvin, adopted us for our adventure. It was just plain wonderful.
Now I am prepping for another semester. I have a crappy schedule that I can’t complain about. I mean that I am not allowed to complain because when I have in the past I have been reminded that I am at the bottom of the pecking order and therefore must simply “deal.” Ah, the things one will do when one is young, talented (but only minimally credentialed), unpublished, enthusiastic, and yet somehow game to be trodden upon. I have no choice. Oh—and thanks for the crap pay, State of Louisiana, that barely allows me to get by. Something else to consider as we ponder our future here…
So here we are again. We wake to the sounds of construction (today I heard some American—GASP—roofers working on the warehouse behind us say “yeah, it’s like f-ing a nasty whore”), we deal with power outages (today’s was three hours long), we cuddle with cats. We remember where we were one year ago today… and one week ago today. Vermont. The mountains. Le sigh.