I had never been to New Orleans before, and yet something inside me was ready, and willing – as if it knew a deep, abiding love was there already – waiting to be sparked into life by the moist air, heavy with a mixture of life and death.
The buildings crumble with a carefree charm that alters the pace of life, as if the bricks themselves are letting out a long, slow sigh.
“Here, we take our time,” they say, their voices a wavering whisper of echoes.
“Here, we take our time,” they repeat, as the moss crawls over their surface, spreading, sprawling, taking over anything that stands still long enough.*
And I pause too, under the spell of the charismatic decay, and smile, thinking to myself, “Yes. Here. We.”
I am one with the city in that instant.
The very air is thick with magic. Magic wrapped in verdant gardens and overgrown cemeteries. Magic floating through the haunted corridors of streets and homes alike. A tangible history that leaves the taste of copper and dust on my tongue – the taste of all the lives that passed here before me.
I breathe deeply, inhaling the remnants, the lingering ghosts. I close my eyes and let the air rest against my skin, accepting the invitation in the weight.
I open my eyes, slowly. Great oak trees arching overhead, dripping with moss. Everything hazy, and mist covered, like a dream.
A dream I wish desperately never to wake from.
* When we got back in our car after the long weekend, we found moss growing on the roof. New Orleans was not ready to let us go either.