During my brief time at Festival International de Louisiane 2010 I saw in the crowd people who were familiar to me but I could not remember under what circumstances I had encountered them before. Perhaps I dreamed them. It was uncanny. There were at least five who were in very close proximity to me who stood out as people that I should know. And then I saw the orthopedic surgeon who operated on my fractured toes. He was with his family moving away from me further into the sea of people. I wanted to fly over the fast-moving, swinging bodies to reach him to shout: “Thank you for saving my poor mangled foot!” I wanted to catch his gaze and just say “Hello, miracle-worker!” with my eyes.
I sat on the steps of the Federal Courthouse which was very near where the TV5Monde Stage was set up. The two women sitting next to me were wearing matching rings on their left hands. I also saw two men kiss on the lips. It made me happy to see love in the open. There was something symbolic too I think in that we were surrounded by same-sex couples on the Federal Courthouse steps. I hope that is a good omen for future strides in the movement for equal rights.
The rising moon was three quarters full. The sky was blue glass-bright and cloudless. Earlier, rain had been predicted. In fact in other southern states there were terrible tornadoes! The weather couldn’t have been better for Festival—it was not too hot, breezy, and cool in shady spots.
The music sent me deeper into myself. I tried to connect with my friends through texts but we were scattered about the downtown area at different performance stages. My fear of crowds abated for a time. No one raged around me. I had my husband with me which always makes me feel secure.
I did not want to leave our spot. I could have sat on the courthouse steps until the music ended and the people streamed back to their ordinary lives beyond this wonderful creative celebration of Francophone and world cultures that are mixed so wonderfully in Louisiana. A world explodes into being in this microcosm made of music, art, food (and drink) film, visual arts, performance arts, spoken word, etc. Such is Festival International de Louisiane.
Arriving at the festival I was energized but leaving I had to stop walking after short distances to take a break and catch my breath. I am terribly out of shape. My husband noted this when we got home. He said it kindly but it still hurt to hear this truth. What have I done to myself? What grief am I holding in my body? Plainly, why do I overeat and live a sedentary life? I gained a great deal of weight and lost muscle when I broke my foot in January of 2009. And after I was rehabilitated I made several half-starts and full-on attempts at changing my behaviors to lose weight. I was diagnosed with high blood pressure a few months ago and while that is under control I know I am stressing my body— my heart and my knees especially by carrying this excess weight. My family is concerned about me and about their own health issues. I want all of us to get healthier.
I cannot continue in this unworkable way of life any longer.