One Year Later: Crawfish Mountains//Bayou Days

Letters

The moonlight on the bayou

A Creole tune that fills the air

I dream about magnolias in bloom

And I’m wishin’ I was there.

“Do You Know What it Means to Miss New Orleans,”

Louis Armstrong.

 

As I look out over my friends’ backyard, the moon floats over the bayou.

The air feels heady.  

And seemingly everyone I could’ve ever wished into existence is standing, right there, amidst the grass and the crawfish boil tables and the twinkling lights in front of me.  

A Letter For When Sh*t Gets Real

Letters

Written what seems like a million lightyears ago, 
this letter was one of my very first grad school assignments.
In my Google Drive, it’s titled: 
“OPEN THIS WHEN SHIT GETS REAL.”
And I never opened it…
Until two days ago, at the end of class when my advisor handed me the letter, sealed in an envelope.
Here is a *very slightly* edited version, 
for when shit gets real:

8 AM// Another Letter to the Red Covered Bridge

Letters

Dear Bridge (& by extension, Valley Green),

I’m not really sure when I’ll see you next– throughout 2018, I’ve had the privilege of coming back here countless times for weddings and races and high fives and hugs.  

But as for 2019, on verra.  

We shall see.

12 PM//Cabrini Walking Bridge

Letters

There are more elaborate, more poetic, more profound ways of putting all of this but right now, I just want to write everything IN ALL CAPS:

BECAUSE I AM HOME AND GET TO EAT FLAKY PASTRIES AND HUG MY FRIENDS AND DRINK MIMOSAS ON PLAYGROUNDS AND PLAY SHARKS AND MINNOWS WITH HUNDREDS OF TINY HUMANS AND SIT NEXT TO THE BAYOU AND JUMP OUT FROM BEHIND DOORS AND SHRIEK WITH DELIGHT AT SEEING ALL OF THESE PEOPLE WHOM I HAVE MISSED SO SO MUCH AND Y’ALL!! I AM HOME.  

Weird happy hand dances 4 dayz.

10.7.18: Mile 22 Chicago Marathon

Letters

It is somewhat of a weird miracle how memories resurface.

How they are remembered, retold, rehashed.

How biking or walking or running or sitting in one place can have the kind of magic that lures and pulls you back to another time, another place, another person— a glimmer of Orion’s belt, the snap of a wine cork, a faint whiff of toasted hazelnut.

In French and Creole cultures, this kind of remembrance encapsulates the magic of déjà-vu— the sense that what you are experiencing au présent, you have already experienced au passé.

The sense that you are living in this shadowy yet glimmering place between past and present.

A Chicagoan’s Letter to Chicago

Letters

Today marks my one month “move-iversary” to Chicago.

As in, one month ago, I unloaded all of my books and tchotchkes and ate more pizza than my body could handle to call Chicago “home.”

Or whatever “home” really means these days. 

I have been thinking a lot about what this means and how to celebrate this– one month of making new friends! One month of attempting to understand public trans! One month of reading and talking and listening and reading some more!

But this has also made me acutely aware of how much work and understanding I still need to do to really–truly– call Chicago home.

Made me realize how much of this city I don’t know, don’t understand.

Bon Voyages and Beginnings

Letters

“So when do you think you’re going to start missing New Orleans?”

We’re in the car, riding on a high of McDonald’s french fries and almost 900 hours of summer camp. The music is pulsing, reverberating, through the bones of the car. Mississippi pine trees go by in a blur, the sun as well.  My fingers tap against the window, feet slung up onto the dashboard, head bopping from side to side. I’m humming along absentmindedly to some summer anthem, making up words, picking at my split-ends, dotting mosquito bites with my fingernails.

9 AM EST//Goucher Woods

Letters

To the Goucher College Woods:

If you’re here, meandering or sprinting or sleeping amidst these trees, hopefully you find the same sense of calm, the same sense of respite, the same sense of connection I found here, everyday, for four years.

I still come back, once every few years, tracing my fingers over the Heart Trees, feeling my legs tense up at the sight of Rocking Chair Hill, sensing myself calm down seeing the waves of buttercups laughing and bobbing in the breeze of the Back Jump Field.