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,”
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.
Yesterday was one of those days where I missed New Orleans more than most.
It doesn’t happen as often anymore– not pangs of heart-pulls. Not moments of dizziness.
Just random moments that seem to pop up out of thin air and make me miss the tiny things:
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.
“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.
Where is your place?
Not the place you go to when you get in a car and drive to work or where you end up at the end of the day or where you wake up in the morning– but your place— where you go to feel like the fullest and the best version of yourself.