Monday, February 04, 2008

Fog on the river

It's Lundi Gras, and there is fog on the river.

People usually don't like the fog. In ancient times it was hard to navigate the river when there was fog. Reduced vision meant danger and sometimes death.

Others equate fog with spooky graveyards and ghost stories. No doubt Jack the Ripper used the London fog to his benefit.

But today, I look at the fog and I think it's beautiful. It's a natural event that neither hinders nor threatens me.

Like "soft" focus often employed in old Hollywood movies, I think it hides the blemishes, the faults and the shortcomings.

This past weekend and through tomorrow, New Orleans is celebrating Mardi Gras. It is celebrating itself. Like fog on the river, Carnival Time will wrap around this city and make everything beautiful.

We will decorate and put on costumes and pretend for a while that New Orleans is in fact "new."

We will spend a few days under the influence of liquid spirits, enjoying the fog of alcohol to the greatest extent possible.

We will envelop our city in irreverence so that the pain of rebuilding (or the lack rebuilding) is temporarily hidden from view.


Let's enjoy it while it lasts. If you're in the New Orleans area, celebrate Mardi Gras for the soul that survives and the spirit that endures in spite of all obstacles.

And if you're not in New Orleans, think about us on Tuesday. Pause during your work day to remember that life is good, that even the hardest lives is worth living if just for a few moments of joy. Think about what it is that makes humans--not just New Orleanians, but all humans--refuse to bow to the whims of nature, to choose to struggle and fight on. Remember that the ferocity of the fight often corresponds to the sweetness of the success.

I promise to think of you on Mardi Gras. When our marching group Mondo Kayo reaches Canal Street, I promise to make a toast to all the good people of America who don't celebrate Mardi Gras, who don't partake in this grand event. I will wish you well, and wish you could be here with us in this beautiful crescent of the Mississippi River.

Happy Mardi Gras!

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