Moving Forward

Every morning I would wake up excited, the doors to infinite possibilities wide open & inviting me in. Decisions were sometimes made by careful deduction, but more often than not with little more than whim, the flip of a coin, direction of the wind, or the quiet, passionate desperation that endlessly seethes inside of me – the eternal need for the unknown, for adventure. To continually test myself with whatever blessing or adversity the Universe could conjure up to throw at me, and grow. And learn.

Plans to move to Boston fell through so I found myself in Austin volunteering for Katrina refugees in an artist’s forest. A new friend had never been to Burning Man so I promised her a ride from New Orleans, only being able to find a van to buy less than 10 days before we had scheduled to leave. I couldn’t find the magazine I wanted to read so I decided to create it, not having the first idea how I was going to, or even how to build a website – and four months after it launched was producing shows for the first time & winning awards.

Nothing could stand in my way. The world opened to whatever I sought or desired, and if it didn’t exist I created it. It felt like nothing could stop me, like this life I had shaped and formed and fashioned would keep storming ahead. I made my dreams so real, so beautiful, that they virtually fulfilled themselves…

…and then there was nothing. I felt like I was lying in the middle of a freeway, unable to move as life rushed by and all I could do was lay there, static in a world of action, decaying, decomposing, trying not to die.

And time passed. What was supposed to be a three month vacation turned into eighteen months of hell. People visited, some, I’m sure, expecting it to be the last time they saw me alive. I was good at reassuring them, I think, letting them believe I was fine, strong, getting better so that they would be more comfortable. I don’t think I ever expressed how terrified & unsure I was most of the time. I wouldn’t even let myself believe that. I couldn’t. Instead I focused on healing & what I would do when I walked out the door. When I could, I read feverishly. Studied quantum science, I taught myself to use my mind to heal my body.

It was easy to get to know the people in the hospice well, as it was only 14 rooms, 14 people at any time. You found out why they were there, created a familiar bond with them. Of the 15 who died in that time, I watched four with the exact same diseases and symptoms as I had give up and die – three of them younger with less severe symptoms. I’ll never know why. Was it the constant pain, or thinking there was nothing to live for? Had they forgotten their dreams?

I don’t know. I would just wake up and their room was empty, sterile, as if they had never been there.
I couldn’t let their deaths affect me. I couldn’t give in to the pain or the constant terror or the stench of my own flesh rotting. Up until the moment I walked into the hospice – those years had been the happiest of my adult life. I wanted them back.
I had to keep fighting.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I walked out of the hospice just a little over six years ago.
All that time I have carried what happened, what I went through, on my shoulders & in my heart – and deep inside of it, I have also carried my sickness. Using it as a crutch, the only thing special about my present is my past – that I’m simply here. Alive, but not living. My life no longer moving forward the way it had been before it all went to shit, and I was left with nothing to hold onto but what I “had” done, instead of what I am doing.

I learned a lot about mind/body healing while in the hospice. I have absolutely no doubt that, as impossible as it was sometimes, if I hadn’t *known* I would live, I would have ended up just like those I watched while there – another sterile, empty room, my body carted out on a gurney behind the curtain of night.

But I still had work to do. Until I let go of that part of my past, I would always consider myself “sick”, and therefore never be able to be *truly* healthy, perfectly healthy – but it had turned into my identity. “The guy who didn’t die” was all I felt I was anymore.

At least until recently.

It feels, now, like I have a future, something to look forward to, and something that I’ve been looking *for* since the moment I walked out. Though it’s not close to enough to satisfy me fully – I still need a vehicle to get the fuck out on the road & just *drive* for days on end and find myself nowhere I’ve been before, I am creating again – I am frequently challenged, always learning, and I love designing & constructing my jewelry. And I have something to look *forward* to. I can let go of who I *was*.

The warrior awakens. There are new battles to win.

And you better fucking believe I will.

 

 

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The River (NOLA ’06)

There was no sleeping on those nights. I knew this, but still I tried. Laying on my unfolded futon in my tiny room, I could see the faint glow of the full moon through the wooden slats covered by the blue-tarp roof.

The air thick and hot, it wrapped around me like a fever sheet as I finally got out of bed. I stepped the few feet to the kitchen, careful not to bang my toe on anything in the dark, and looked out my favorite window onto the street one floor below. The willow tree that on a breezy day would reach inside was as still as death, as was everything else I could see. The porchlights on the small homes across the street looked like they were shining through a light gauze, and leaning on my kitchen counter, gently pulling the branches of the willow through my hands & loving the feeling of its life, I knew that it was far too hot for me to sleep. I could either fold up my futon, sit down & write, or…

I looked at the clock. Still around 8 hours until I needed to be out at Jackson Square. I liked being there earlier, but definitely no later than 11am for the lunch crowd walking up & down Decatur. I would stand until the storms came through, nearly every day like clockwork around 2:30 or 3, and use that time to either grab a café au lait and beignet’s at Du Monde, or just sit on my milk crate and rest underneath the balcony of the nearest building, reading, writing, and waiting the hour or so it took for the thunder, lightning & rain to move on.

So much, I love the storms. Many times I would just sit there watching the rain splash into puddles of itself, and feel a charge roll through my body & mind as the lightning flashed & thunder rumbled across the sky, through my body. It felt like I was a part of it, and if I wanted to, if only I knew how, I could simply disappear into its magic & become a part of the storm’s passion, leaving everything behind & off to another new adventure…

Still naked, I put on some clothes & my boots, poured some ice-water into my thermos to bring with me, and stepped outside, locking my door behind me. At the top of the stairs I breathed in, and smelled the fragrant still air of the Southern night. Completely relaxed but eager to feel the wind on my face, I quietly walked down the stairs, unlocked my bike, then walked out the front gate on to Esplanade. I thought a few seconds, then realized – I knew exactly where I was going.

It felt beautiful to be riding through the streets. Everyone was inside & the city was still quiet from everyone leaving because of Katrina, so the streets were mine, & mine alone. In no rush to get where I was going, I swerved back & forth from side to side, sometimes riding up on to the sidewalk for a bit then back into the middle of the street, or randomly riding in extended figure 8’ts, at the top of each “8” moving just a little bit more in the direction I was going. The warm wind on my face felt glorious, and feeling so wonderfully light-hearted, knowing these moments were as perfect as they could possibly be, I wanted this one to last as long as it could.

Crossing through Jackson Square Park then Decatur, I smiled & circled around the spot where I would be standing again in just a few hours, visualizing hundreds of people putting 5’s, 10’s & 20’s into my busking box. I was still saving up for a van to get Raven & I to Burning Man, as I’d promised her a ride a month or so before without having a ticket or any way to get us there at the time, but knowing things would work out. In those days, they always did. In those days, I was magic.

There was no one around, so I didn’t bother locking my bike – just laid it down off the sidewalk on the rocks. There was a soft glow from the moon, but still I was proud of myself that I had thought to bring a flashlight as I stepped from rock to rock, down to the river. Finding a good rock to sit on right on the edge of the Mississippi, I saw the cargo ships downriver, silent, still, & peaceful. I couldn’t help but think of what it was like a hundred years ago, remembering all I could of “Huck Finn”. I guess if I ever had a hero, someone I wanted to emulate, it would, without question, be him – with a good helping of Samuel Clemens thrown in for writing & the Gentleman.
Feeling on my face the slightest whisper of a cool breeze coming off the river the full moon giving just enough to see the ripples in the water moving with the current… and as I sat there savoring this perfect solitude, I felt my heart beating and strong, full with the beauty of this life.

To find Me

Who am I anymore? My heart has grown black, blocked, protected, & I cannot see. But I remember.
I’m increasingly feeling that finding my mother was unfortunate. I had promised myself, promised her that I wouldn’t and don’t expect anything, but how could that even be possible?

If she hated me for finding her, I would have been fine. If she wanted to be a part of my life, even better – but I was depending on absolutes, either one or the other, and certainly not this. This, I couldn’t have imagined.

It began beautifully – exactly, more or less, what I wanted. She was excited to meet me & had my half-sister drive her down to the City. The first birthday of mine after we met, I opened my mailbox to find five cards from her…

And when I could, I visited her. A ride with my half-sister & our dogs, a ride with a girlfriend for a birthday present… but as time went by we talked less & less. I left months of unanswered messages, sent letters with no reply. A desperate ride from a friend to confront her. The only time we really talk is when we are together.

At first I was able to laugh it off. “Gods, she’s worse than me.” “She’s mostly a hermit.” “She’s bad at keeping in contact – I guess that’s where I get it.”… but the walls were already being built.

Of course I remembered how. It was the very first thing I learned how to do when I was torn from her arms. Detach. Hide the pain. Move on.
But this time it’s different. I’m stuck in a limbo of uncertainty, and I’ve worked too fucking hard to break the walls down to ever want them there again – though it makes things so much easier. Insufferably lonely, but easier.

I need to weave a new self-narrative of who I am & who she is in my life. Fragments of what was, what might have been, & what is, integrating the abandoned baby & the adult that baby has become.
I need to knit the fantasy birth-mother & the real one together, who she first was, & who I haven’t talked to in over a year nor seen in nearly two, and as painful as it is, accept it. Accept her, & accept… whatever we are now.

I feel that’s the only way to set my heart free again, to let it feel the light as it once did. To remember that part of me and once more… shine.

The world, this life is not perfect, yet we try to arrange people, places & things so as not to disturb our little fear-built fantasy of what it should be, and when people say or do something that doesn’t fit our fantasy, we feel that they’re against us. That life is against us.

I see people fighting to control the things around them every day – getting offended by the most ridiculous bullshit because it isn’t what *they* think. If someone else says or does something that stimulates the fear they have, then *that* person is wrong. Only fear can make a person so blind as to how beautifully magical life is, how incredible it can be when they give up the need for control of those around them.
They’re trapped in a bubble where everyone who doesn’t fit their idea of what “should be” is against them, and almost inevitably spit their sad little outrage out on the Facebook screen.
But I stray.

My life has been one of nearly constant introspection. I have done my best to simply live & let life happen instead of control it, and occasionally I have even been able to achieve this. ( https://kseaflux.wordpress.com/2005/08/ ~ 6 months forward.)
I look back at the past, remember & re-learn things I have forgotten. I feel around in the darkness of my heart & hope to find the answers I once knew for the questions I have today.

…and I understood that I was blaming this on my Mother. Trying to control her, to make her fit into my idea of what I think she should be. What “family” should be. Who the woman I searched over 25 years of my life for should be.
She didn’t ask for this, though she says she wanted me to find her. That she thought about me all the time.

Maybe she doesn’t need to think about me anymore. Maybe a thousand things. I don’t know. But I’m not going to let *this* blacken my heart anymore.

I was going through old Tribe.net testimonials yesterday, reading who I was, trying to repair my heart, trying to understand where & why things turned. These are from only 10 years ago.
This person is still in me, somewhere… and I will find him again.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~
“I do admire you… I do not know how you do to live the life you live. You remind me of the replicates in the Blade Runner Film. So wild and beautiful like poetry lost in time… like tears in the rain…

Do birds ever come to you?

I will be praying for you these days… for you, my friend, to get home soon. I am so very glad life is good to you because you are so good, way over too many stupidities of this world. And, I might be wrong, of course, for I perceive your nature must bring this need to pull it all the way. Not being a slave at any risk… it’s a pretty good damn meaning and purpose. I believe in you, you are an inspiration to life itself…

I feel you have been giving way too much, and you are so intense, could be dangerous like love… you seem from here like a wild tender beautiful authentic being, more than human. I want to pray for you to find what you are looking for, what you really need….

There is something of me in you; still we might be completely opposites… You are, brother, creator of fantasies, worlds, and million thousand ways to fly. I watch you fly mesmerized; still I wish something wires you to the land… I don’t know why, sometimes I wish I could become that wire to connect you with your land, or at least, send it to you in some magical way…

The higher you fly, the further away, the deeper this wish buries in me… like a dream, it cuts. It’s not easy to say this kind of things, to describe this kind of experience without some fear…

I hope you’ll understand… I hope you do receive a kiss and a hug with these words which aren’t enough, I know, but it’s all I got now…

Blessings”

~  ~  ~
“I find it hard to breathe in your arms. it has less to do with the urgency of your embrace, the strength in your slender sinewy limbs… more the relentlessness of your self. I find myself outnumbered, surrounded, because you are starving, ravenous, for life and love and laughter.

and these things I have, like candies spilling out of my overfull hands

I hold them behind me, not to taunt you, but unsure that I can surrender them without loosing fingers.
you are no tame bird”

~  ~  ~
“it was wonderful seeing you last night. you were looking more balanced than i have seen you
before, gorgeous and fit of course, but also you energetically seemed very clear and free. So many real smiles, even your aura shining. i’m so glad. you’re such a great combination of goofy and lovable and innocent, and fucking searingly sexy and worldly and such a piece of inspiring art to look at. fascinating art that creates itself from the inside out and can reach out and grab a lady’s hair just right.
love.”

 

I miss who I was when I knew the light.

 

Eternal Love

 

9.28.2017

I wear the necklace that I made out of her teeth much less these days, the smile she always wore that now, on occasion, I do. But both of our smiles are fragile.

Twelve years. It doesn’t get easier, only different – but that’s perhaps my fault, my choice. I never want to forget. – there are still triggers; but it has found  a different place in my heart, one of warmth and fondness instead of pain. Now, a subtle smile crosses my face as I recall her beauty, and we again smile together.

DSCN5586

Her ashes still rest by me, and the memories of those glorious days on the road from San Francisco, the long & accidental way to Austin. Austin wasn’t the plan, but as always, plans change – and we were needed there in the days following Hurricane Katrina to help. Every day an adventure. I had purpose. I was needed. The months living in The Enchanted Forest, both extraordinarily beautiful and full of sorrow, will remain in my heart, along with Bean, forever.

More than anything, she loved the car. I took her with me everywhere I could with me… but on that day – September 28th, 2005, she couldn’t come. Going to help a friend build a rain structure for a wedding reception, I was only gone for a couple hours. This time, however, she wasn’t waiting where we parked at the end of the driveway as she had always done before…

I learned moments later that her body had been found on the train tracks by friends at the Forest. Head crushed, but a stuffed toy, somehow, still in her mouth. I think that’s what they said. After the first words I wasn’t listening anymore.

Nearly always in these days of the year there’s a melancholy or need that comes over me – a longing. (Or, more appropriately said, it’s amplified.) A need to travel, to just go and watch cities & past disappear in the rearview mirror.

The way the Universe smiles on me sometimes, even when I don’t see it until later… A friend of mine, David, loaned me his car to do things I needed for four days, and on the last, after everything had mostly been done, I decided to give it all to Ruby – the only dog I’ve known who loves the car even more than Bean did. Starting at 5:30am, our drive began – sunrise at her favorite local park, then down to the Wharf where I took her for the first time as a pup of only four months old. Top down, loving every second of the wind & sunshine, we drove like beasts crunching bones & sucking the marrow out of the roads & the day, until the uncharacteristic San Francisco heat drove us back inside my apartment to rest in front of the fan.

Only a day later, when I realized the date, did the deep-seeded need become clear – it was my tribute to Bean, and all the miles we had driven together.

I look at the photo I took of her moments before we began our adventure, looking out the window of my van with a beautiful smile on her face – waiting for me to get in the car so we could go…

Bean

I’m sorry Bean, I thought I would see you sooner than this – but I had other things to do. I know you understand.

I miss you.
And one day, we’ll all drive again – you, Ruby, & me.

Until again, my sweet girl.

DSCN0288

As They Have Done For Me (A commitment to myself.)

I had left phone messages, sent handwritten letters & cards, and still hadn’t heard anything back from her. For the first few months I wasn’t concerned. With the exception of a brief time shortly after we met, she’s always been inconsistent in getting back to me, and is a complete Luddite when it comes to anything beyond phone or cards. It’s frustrating, but something I’ve learned to tolerate. It’s just who she is, and I don’t have much of a choice but to accept it.

I had spent 25 years of my life searching for my Birth Mother, not knowing if she was even alive, and with each year that passed growing more anxious. I would vividly imagine the first time we met only being able to lay flowers on her grave – so this, this was small.

Only a couple years before there were times she would call me out of the blue, just to check in, say hi – and eventually would always return a phone message. My first birthday after we had met, she sent five cards, each addressed & in their own envelope, and even though the frequency of our communication got less & less after that, she never failed to at least send a beautiful card for my birthday. In these she would fill me in on the latest in her life, and it was always the same thing. She worked in a hospital lab, came home, watched TV for a bit before bed, & on Sundays, usually went to a local restaurant, a place called Lauren’s in Boonville. She frequently closed the notes saying “I need to get a life!” Helpless to do anything about it, reading that always hurt.

It had been months since I’d heard anything from her. When my birthday came & went without a card, I started to get worried. The messages I left & cards I sent increasingly got more desperate, eventually flat out asking if she wanted me in her life anymore. Maybe this was all a mistake. Maybe she decided that she didn’t want to be reminded of that time in her life, being shipped from Colorado to San Diego to have me, away from the humiliation that a pregnant & unwed child would have brought to her family in the ‘60’s. Maybe… hell, I didn’t know what to think. I was terrified that after over half my life searching for & finding my Mother, I had again lost her.

Still no reply.

All I had were letters and phone messages to send, and nothing came of those. I thought about taking the train up there, but the station was much too far away. Bus, same thing. If she didn’t want me in her life anymore, I could somehow learn to live with that – but I needed to hear it from HER, I needed to know why before I could begin to accept it, to heal as well as I could. With each day that passed, each letter or card that went unanswered, my heart collapsed a little more. Did she leave me again? What’s wrong with me, why can’t I fix it, why can’t I see it? What did I do wrong this time? I just needed to know. I needed answers. Maybe with answers I could work on what’s wrong with me.

I had been journaling, trying to make sense of it. I posted some of what I wrote just to get it away from my mind, and people were nice, reached out in words of concern. They were appreciated, but words didn’t help anything.

Then, on one of my posts, a friend offered a ride. I figured it was a nice gesture, but more than likely wouldn’t happen. People say a lot of things, promise the world, but at the end of the day, seldom come through. I didn’t let myself get excited, but figured I’d at least play along.

If this happened, he would have to drive down from Sacramento, pick me up, and then drive the 2.5 hours to my Mother’s house so we could catch her after she got home from work at around 5:30 – then after surprising her by knocking on her door and figuring out what the HELL was going on, would have to do the whole trip back to Sac. I saw how absurd that was, and although I needed answers, him doing this – for *me* – was just ridiculous, and far too much to ask or hope for. It was constantly on my mind to cancel just for his sake – but Kitty never faltered, never gave a hint of reluctance. It was going to be more than a 400 mile round trip for him, and all he wanted was for me to get the answers I needed from my mother. He also said he liked the idea of “sand-bagging” her for answers, and even if it was a last-stand, at least what needed to be done could be done.

When he showed up at my door that Saturday after our planning, I decided that maybe it was time for me to accept that he was serious. This was happening.
OhShitOhShitOhShit.

With all the apprehension and anxiety I put myself through, it turned out to be surprisingly unapocalyptic. As I walked up to her door I could see her through the large living-room window, sitting in her chair & watching TV. I watch her as she walks over to the door, unable to see me yet.
“Hi mom.”
“Ohhh, HI, Casey! What a surprise!”
She motions for me to come in.
“What the hell is going on? Have you gotten my letters? Messages?”
“Yes, I’m so sorry…”
“But you didn’t even take a minute to answer them? ANY of them? Not one?”
“I meant to, but…”
“But what, you couldn’t be bothered? Do you have the slightest idea what I’ve been going through? I think I made it pretty fucking clear in the letters.”
“I know, I kept meaning to, but it just got harder as time went on and…”

Looking at my Mother’s face, seeing *my* face in hers & seeing the regret and apology, the anger starts to subside but I’m not letting her off that easy. I still don’t know what I need to know.
“DO you want me in your life anymore? If not, I need to know why – what I’ve done or if it’s just your trip, if this is too much for you, do you still want me?”
“Of course I do. I’m so sorry, I… I’m just bad at it, bad at staying in contact. I promise I’ll try to get better Casey, I *do* love you and want you in my life, and I’m sorry I put you through that, I didn’t mean to…”

We’re both sitting now, the anger & dread nearly all washed from me, and I’m explaining to her like she’s a three year old what it did to me, what she did, how she made me feel. I know she understands, but I don’t want her to forget. I don’t want her to take this lightly, and especially don’t want her to ever do it again. Hoping I got my point across well enough, the conversation moves into seeing how she’s doing, how the hips that have both recently been replaced are feeling, and knowing Kitty & I need to get back on the road soon. I go outside & invite him in, and shortly after we’re back on the road, leaving my Mother to her grey, empty life & TV.

As we walk the short distance to his car I turn to see her sitting again, and vow to myself that somehow, I’ll figure out a way to get a car, get up here at least a couple times a month to either take her on small adventures or just stay the weekend and help her clean up the weeds in her back yard. I think of planting a garden for her, how nice that would be. She’s mentioned that she would really like to get a dog someday. So many things I could do for her, if only I could get up here.

What Kitty did for me that day, I will never forget.
I do what I can for people to try and help, but it’s frustrating being so limited. I can only do small things: take dog food down to the homeless kids & their dogs around Civic Center, give a few dollars here & there when I have it, drape coats that I don’t wear anymore over people trying to sleep on cold San Francisco nights – but it’s never enough. I know there is so much more I could do – but it requires a car. There’s no way around it.

That was a year and seven months ago. I haven’t been able to get up and see my Mother since.
A few months ago she ordered somey jewelry from me, and I still haven’t seen them on her. Small things like that…

 

On September 5th is my 50th birthday, and right now my greatest dream is to be able to go pick My Mother up and bring her back down to the City so I can spend it with her. Have a small gathering of friends so they can finally meet her, this beautiful and amazing woman, and she could meet them – get out of her house and finally enjoy life a little bit. She deserves to.

I have a campaign on GoFundMe to help me get a car, which would not only allow me to get a little adventure and excitement into my mother’s life but help me get to shows & events to vend my jewelry & grow my business – as well increase the quality of my life in every way I can imagine. I could help so many more people…

http://www.gofundme.com/magickbus

If you can, please donate to it, share it to your friends on Facebook, Twitter, emails, and anywhere you can think of. Click on the link below, and please – give what you can. I would appreciate it with all my heart – and if, with your help, I am able to get a car – if you ever need a ride somewhere, *anywhere* – you got it.
THANK YOU!!!

http://www.gofundme.com/magickbus

Life, Death, Dogs. A Rooftop Contemplation

The occasional whisper of tires as a car drives by below, an unintelligible shout, the scattered songs of birds. The only sounds at this hour. Only the crackheads & I seem to be awake. Even the sirens are quiet, sleeping.

It’s 4am & I’m up on the roof of my apartment building with a fresh cup of coffee, a cigarette, & Ruby. The clouds above reflect the city lights giving a faint glow, just enough to see by. A cool breeze plays with my hair, blowing it in my face then away. I wrap my robe a little tighter around me.

I sit on the short wall of my building, look down at the weeds growing in our forbidden & neglected back yard. Near the far right corner calla lily’s bloom, defying the otherwise abandoned and unloved desolation. With their beauty inevitably comes a warm sorrow as I’m reminded of when Striggy brought a gift of bone-white lily’s to my tent in Austin. With love & reverence I placed them on top of the pale blonde box I had picked up earlier that day, already made into an altar surrounded with candles, a picture of Bean propped up against the box that now held the ashes of the most amazing dog & companion I’ve ever known. She was killed by a freight train a few days before, found by friends lying between the tracks, her favorite stuffed toy a few inches from her head. Nearly 13 years later & the tears still fall for her.

I turn back facing the roof top, close my eyes, take in a few deep breaths as I find a strange comfort in this sadness. Now, it’s filled with love and warm memories instead of the anguish I carried inside for years, holding it tight, afraid that if the pain wasn’t there I would somehow be betraying her memory.

I know better now. I understand death better now.

I think of how exquisite this life is, how fortunate I am. Occasionally I still let the weight of it all get to me and forget these things, but not now. Not today.

I open my eyes and catch Ruby briefly chasing her tail. I chuckle silently to myself and somehow love her even more.

I think of the time I spent in Hospice. Months on end so close to giving up, so desperately wanting to stop being strong, and each morning having to somehow find just one reason to keep fighting. One reason to stay alive.

As impossible it seemed to be able to imagine at times, I needed to believe that I would somehow get better.

I had to know, with as little doubt as possible, that there would be mornings like this one to look forward to.

Do you know what it means…

As I weave the rings together, I half-watch various TV series that I remember enjoying, and this time, it’s Treme – a show based in New Orleans, centered around the music of the city – and the pain & frustration that Katrina left in her aftermath.
The first show of the series begins three months after The Storm – one month before I moved there, and the first time I ever stepped foot on the magick of its soil.
I find tears coming to my eyes frequently, as I remember the amazing people, the fun & friends I met that remain in my heart to this day, and the spirit of the city.
I had never experienced a city stronger, with more resolve, nor people with more love for their home.
Until I moved there, I had never truly understood what that word meant – only that I had never had one. I chose to call it mine shortly after I moved there, and in a strange and not so subtle way, I could *feel* that it accepted me into its arms. It loved me back.

I performed on the street as a living statue while living there, and my most common pitch – one of the best ones in the Quarter – was on Decatur Street in Jackson Square Park, directly across from Cafe’ du Monde.
I have many funny, sad, & beautiful stories from those months, one being a NOPD officer who had grown kind-of friendly with me in passing, and one day, as a group of about 15 tourists stood around me gawking & ignoring my tip box, I hear, seemingly over a PA system: “Put. Some Money. In The Box!” – and turned just enough to see him sitting in his car, smiling at me. I almost laughed at how quickly they reached deep into their wallets & pocketbooks, but couldn’t break character.
Another day there was the child being dragged along by his mother like a piece of old luggage, on her way to the next tourist shopping destination. She had him by the wrist, his arm stretched as far as it would go as he tried to look around at the people, the horses & carriages, and all the things that a young boy should be able to take the time to explore, to wonder about & ask endless questions to an annoyed parent.
As they were walking by me, the mother didn’t look twice in her one-person shopping stampede – she had the blinders of a well-oiled consumer, but the *boy*… the boy, he noticed that maybe something just wasn’t entirely right with that statue, with it’s white skirt gently luffing in the breeze, scuffed shoes… there was something that caught his eye, and as he looked up at my face, I caught his with mine – and I winked at him. It was something small – I just wanted him to know that *I* saw him. That he had a friend.

His jaw dropped and eyes popped open to near the point of being nothing but a caricature of a lazily carved pumpkin, and as he realized his feet needed to keep moving due to the ignorant machine of the relentless force dragging him along, he jogged to catch up & ran a little ahead so she might see him, remember he was there and listen as he said with the hope of her hearing him – “Mom – there’s someone *IN* there!”

A couple people in the series are street musicians, and as the camera switched to the other person, I saw that they were standing exactly where I did, and according to the show, exactly where I would be just a little over a month later.

This time, my eyes weren’t deep enough to keep the tears from falling.

Gods, I miss New Orleans.

NOLA.Statue