Sometimes I forget how magical New Orleans is. Which, if you've ever visited, you might not buy. How could you walk out your front door and not see all the wonder in front of you??? Mostly because the wonder is usually the guy who lives across the street from us going out in his boxers to get the newspaper at the same time I leave for school. He borrowed a frying pan from us one time. Maybe that's the real wonder--how does a person not have a frying pan? Even in the most depraved culinary households, there's usually a frying pan somewhere. The circumstances of the frying pan incident were interesting too--it was 9:30 in the morning and he came to the door in shorts, a smoking jacket and with a PBR in hand and asked for the pan. Um. Sure, we said. Bring it back. Which he did, 8 hours later, but still. I did my best eyebrow-raise-whatever-floats-your-boat face and called it local flavor.

I had a guest recently stay at my beloved little home here and we went to the grocery store one afternoon--I mean if you really want to talk about local flavor, you'll find it at Winn-Dixie. But that's neither here nor there. No, I take that back. It's definitely here. A quick story: when we were checking out, the woman behind us in line had a little boy who wouldn't stop bawling. I mean really raising hell, and the mom was just not interested in handling that situation. So our check-out lady made plenty of suggestions, but the one she kept coming back to was that the Mom "oughta POP that kid" accompanied by a swooping backhand. I did my best that's-one-parenting-style face and moved on. Anyway--I got a little off track. The real point is that on our way to the store, Michael couldn't stop exclaiming over the beautiful mansions on St. Charles and the sweeping oaks lining the streets and the street car trundling down the neutral ground. This is how you go to the grocery store everyday? he asked incredulously. Yeah I said and laughed.

Sometimes the extraordinary can be dulled by the mundaneness of ordinary life, this I know. Do not go gentle into that good night, rage, rage against the dying of the light. If I had to guess, I think Dylan Thomas was thinking more about his dying father and less about how I've stopped appreciating my little miracle of an existence, but still. I don't think I could call myself an English major if I couldn't somehow twist some applicable meaning out of this particular phrase.

Mr. Thomas, I am not facing death, unless it is the death of gratitude, of imagination, of a belief in a universe larger than myself. To me though, not being able to see the details in the fabric, the beauty in life, that is defeat. Central to my being is my ability to see the world around me and find love and truth and something special in my surroundings--this is why I make friends with dogs in windows and take pictures of red doors and ivy covered steps and smile at trees I have grown particularly fond of. Quiet, unassuming, this is a little peek into my soul. Sometimes we all get a little off track. I'm back on now, and seeing with fresh eyes this special place I am lucky to be in.

I think my Mom is this way too--I think this is one of the things she fostered in us when I was a little girl. It is a good gift she gave us. She showed us the magic of little tree, a little ordinary turned extraordinary, she taught us when tulip trees pop and how snow drops come out in the spring and how a girl can really revel in a moment. She tells us now to rage, rage against the dying of the light and I think I know what she means. Especially when I am so close to leaving the light of this place--even though I know I will be heading in to something else wonderful, somehow, it is important to me to hold tight in my heart every little precious thing. That is the best thing to do I think.

In other news, today was my last first day of school and I feel very ambivalent about it. So far. I guess I won't be in bed for another half hour so there's still time for a break down. Just kidding. Ain't nobody got time for that.

xoxo, Lauren