Here is a little opening blog about symmetry. I sit here on Jan 17th, one more sleep away (snow storm willing) of heading to New Orleans for the first time in 17 years. I like it. It's even- even with two odd numbers. Auspicious start to a trip I have wanted to take for so long. I have been to this magical city many times. Why did I even first visit, you may ask. Hmm. It goes way back to my youth. One year of university under my belt, I still felt a bit lost. In Canada that usually means one of two things- you go to Europe or to Banff. Some of my friends went Europe, my friend Jan and I went Banff. Loved it. Loved the mountains and the whole very West of where I grew up-ness of it all. I did many jobs there and one was as a host for corporate bus tours. Happened to work one such gig and met a father/ son team from New Orleans. They were very sure I should visit New Orleans, that it would make a difference. Had never thought about that town til then. We, the son and I, corresponded for awhile and before I knew it, I was headed there for Mardi Gras. There is no short way fo making sense of Mardi Gras or New Orleans or any of it really. I had this first visit and the seed was planted. The city has become a sort of North Star for me. It came out of nowhere and eventually I lived there for a few years and I feel I came of age- again- there. You can shed your innocence many times. You can pick many stops along the line of growing up for tossing out what no longer fits, for taking on new looks. I did a whole bunch of that there and most of it I did while dancing, while following tubas down streets and not caring what I was 'supposed' to be doing. Instead, I followed my heart, my intuition, my energy. It led to some crazy places. Living there was constantly surreal. I was out of my city, province, country and often out of my mind. I spent lots of time trying to figure out if I was dealing with a US/Canada thing, a Southern thing, a black/white thing. Sometimes it was a songwriter in a groove town thing. I rode the very insane wave that it was until I could no longer then I came home. I have always said that New Orleans is where you go to discover your inner cartoon character and I think mine was Observer Girl. At least then. I was very quiet about being a musician. so it worked for me. I got to listen without performance expectations. I needed that. I was in recovery from leaving a band that had somehow defined me. I needed out of all musical boxes and that was the town to do it in. It was easy to be Observer Girl. Fill up a glass, go up and down Bourbon St and listen to real, live musicians carve out sound. Loved it. Loved all the time I spent there, but it ended. Not so much by my choice, but I feel like it ran its course. That does not mean it was easy leaving. Nope. I did, but I still think about that city every damn day. So, this trip must happen. First time in 17 years. I am going back after Katrina so I will take some time to honour that lose. And I am just excited to walk the streets and run into the me that felt like a few years in a wild setting would set me free and open my heart and mind. So, I am poised to leave in a bunch of hours and look forward to all the who's and what's I will run into. I will keep you posted.