Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Mississippi levee, 7 AM

A hand outside the front door to gauge the weather suggested that knit cap and long sleeves would be prudent for my run today. Not cold, but the humidity made the air clammy.

Moving slowly but surely, I was feeling strong going through the oaks at Audobon Park, so I pushed on toward the river.

A dense fog shrouded the tree line ahead.

On reaching the banks of the Mississippi, I walked a while to rest. Passing a couple of women walking dogs, we exchanged greetings.

I couldn't see more than twenty feet out over the water. The outlines of construction cranes and sleeping willows were just visible a little way up the river.

Waves lapped gently against the levee wall. The traffic of cargo ships and tugboats hadn't started yet. And although I couldn't see anything through the fog, the sounds that emerged from beyond echoed clearly. Most prominently were heavy diesel engines idling. Occasionally a low thud sounded in the distance as heavy objects collided at a dock somewhere.

A group of seagulls squawked as they swooped down on a pile of garbage containing a box of Popeye's chicken bones--likely remnants of some Mardi Gras festivity. I could allow this to discourage me, but today I'll just accept that litter is a simple part of the reality of New Orleans.

The sun emerging from behind the clouds began to burn off the fog, which then rose like wisps of steam from the river.

A train horn pierced the fog several times. Then the crossing bells clanged the alarm. Turning the corner away from the river, a couple of utility cars promptly passed.

The crossing fence rose, and I was off to finish my run.

This path is a special one. It has revealed to me many occasions for rejoicing in the simple fact of being alive.

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