Saturday, January 3, 2015

Life On The Edge

It was 78 degrees today.

New Orleans, you are my home and I love you, but you have a bunk winter and I need to get out.

Winter can not be experienced in this city. I'll buy into the New Orleans conventional wisdom that humidity makes it feel colder, sure. I have spent Mardi Gras week freezing on St. Charles, camped out, waiting. I've had my old shotgun house with no insulation and a broke heater, but the winter here is still bunk. Rarely can you feel the crisp bite to the air as you breathe. The tingle on your cheeks and ears. And the wind. The wind. The sharpness of it's edge as it cuts through any break in your layers. The cold nor the wind, though, say winter more than snow, and NOLA is in a lack of this standard. We get a fine sleet and people call it snow. I need more y'all, ya herd?

Its starting to dump out west brah'! The pow is coming. I'm coming.

Two years ago I started this writing project. It was in anticipation of an extended road trip out west in the summer of 2013. That trip met limited success. Now, I'm headed back for a second take. This time during my favorite season: winter.

Real winter and winter in New Orleans are not the same. NOLA might get enough days below freezing to count on one hand. In true winter the cold becomes omnipresent and inescapable. The accumulating snow creates barriers impeding progress. Everything requires extra time, care, and attention. Little problems quickly become big problems.Lips crack, hands dry out, extremities become numb and you can never find enough warmth.

The endurance of these winter hardships is rewarded in beauty and lessons in virtue. A frozen alpine lake. Pines weighted in snow. The first light of the morning sun behind floating ice crystals in the air. The small prints of a hare. The cold enforces fortitude and self control. There is glory and insight in winter for those willing to pay the price. It's like a hero of mine, Jim Whittater, said, "if you are not living life on the edge, you are taking up too much space."

I'll see y'all dere'. The adventure begins January 5th.


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