Shellhenge October 24, 2014Posted by The Typist in A Fiction, Fortin Street, New Orleans, NOLA, The Narrative, Toulouse Street.
Tags: Fall, Stonehenge, weather
A new sign of fall: the sun has crawled from behind One Shell Square’s fifty stories and shines into my eyes when rising as if it were the Stonehenge of Poydras Street. I had not considered before exactly how the shadows fall. I had simply started taking off my sunglasses as I trudged from my lot beneath the Claiborne overpass toward my temporary new job in a low-rise (eight story), mid-century modern building on Perdido Street. Virtually nothing in this city runs precisely east and west, or north and south. Canal Street runs toward the lake and fairly true on a north-westerly course, but the streets on each side are called north on one side and south on the other. My personal bit of Poydras does tend a compass point to the east of Canal, so it is not surprising that I should discover this little astronomical signal of the change of seasons.
Here the air is everything. The cool has come, the humidity has gone down, and the sun can otherwise do as it pleases. It is not an overwhelming fact of life as it is in August, merciless until interrupted by an afternoon thunderstorm, only to return and steam the streets dry. It is not the sun I rarely saw in North Dakota in winter, arriving and departing work in twilight, or the happy orb that looked of four o’clock on June nights when I was trying to put children to bed at eight. The air governs here, the sun simply playing its part to warm the air and the oceans where the big storms are born. In other places I have lived people will take in a deep breath of brisk fall air but are quickly distracted by the turning of trees, and all too soon by signs of frost. Only a few shrubs (one I planted once but cannot name, that grows along a building on Poydras) and the cypress trees turn color. I will have to check a particular stand with their grey bears that hide off Marconi between the stadium and the attractions up towards City Park Avenue. But the air—the cracking open of windows painted to reluctance, leaving open the door to the sounds of nightlife on my street as I sit in front—the air, the cool air is everything.