travel & recipes

New Orleans in the spring

Who knew this town can be so intoxicating, as if the beauty of its rustic, brightly painted houses and old iron work wasn't enough to captivate, add the white, bright, velvety bulbs of the magnolia tree, slowly opening to pour down a waterfall of pollen to the ground, the honeysuckle and its explosion of sweet perfume, the abundance of sweet, juicy, finger staining mulberries and you'd be quick to get hooked.
New Orleans in the spring is a wild eruption, sounds of music from every possible direction meeting and melting into the colors and the smells that are this artistic and culinary center, pulling me by my ankles, telling me to stay still. I am lying beneath the Brugmansia shrub, with its pinkish trumpets in full bloom, stretched wide open to release their fragrant and attract them pollinating moths. I close my eyes, listening to a mocking bird on a nearby tree, reciting the day's symphony of sounds to a brilliant street light. It is long past midnight and this confused bird is in a trance, announcing loudly its daily catch of tones, whistles, barks and honks, like a car alarm gone crazy It is shouting one sound after the other, in a weird array of beeps and boops, each lasting two ar three seconds at most. I am laughing out loud into the foggy, misty night, enchanted by the vibrations of this night's music and very possibly so by the poisson of the 'angel's trumpets' I am lying beneath.  The grandson of an old female shaman in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico, explained to me once how to make the perfect tincture out of the delicate flowers in order to perfectly harvest their hallucinating potential, on a flat rock, mountain side, surrounded by a thick pine forest, far looking the pacific ocean in the place where clouds are born he told me of an old native ritual that calls for burying a young man in the sand, neck deep, and feeding him the toxic nectar, then leaving him alone overnight and, assuming he makes it, digging him out with sunrise. 'The flowers', he said 'if placed under your pillow, sweetened your dreams and depends your sleep and if made into a tea and consumed, they kill you'.   
Intertwining strands of life, one place connects to the next and the one before, with the most delicate, silky crimson thread I am sewing together pieces of experiences, a giant quilt of sensations is heavy on top of me and I am sinking deeper into the ground. Wet, muddy soil is covering my digits, then my limbs, then my torso. It is sweet and comfortable, and soft and cozy and I am sinking fast.  Only the screaming of the freight train saves me, I wake up abruptly to find I am almost completely submerged. 
This mellow town is below sea level and the swamp is trying as hard as it can to reclaim its ownership of the land. 
My heart is beating in the rhythms of the second line and I know the time has come move on. 

 

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