Wednesday, 21 October 2015

A city at the end of the world

Churchmen tell us that God is merciful, but nature prefers to be merciless.  Facta non verba.  The mechanics that shape the biggest of objects have no compunction about shredding entire worlds.  The movements of molecules of hydrogen and oxygen and wind and sunlight inflict pain and distress on bodies and minds.

I have lived most of my life under the Australian sky.  In summer the sun drags along for 14 hours or so.  In winter the bitter air chills and chills until warmth means more than anything else.  In both seasons, emotions are accentuated less by celebration as by crises.  The faces of men and women in this world seem less to age as to solidify into implacable endurance.  They live in a world which has already ended and where little change that is good or bad is to be expected.

New Orleans is a city where the world constantly threatens to end and does not do so.  Strip away the tourist trash and the clichés and you still find a city where the senses are king.  Food is made to be enjoyed, coffee to stimulate, music to speak and prayers to be heard.  Things are beautiful are thrown at you, all at once and without complication. In a city where the world is always one big storm away from ending, the present is a work of art.

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