Sequestering Forty Days of Lent / 2013 March
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Yours Truly in a Swamp
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"Hi ho, hi ho.
|LEJ before the ashes Photocredit: Anson Trahan|
At Saint Louis Cathedral, business suits stood cheek-by-jowl with crimson capes and smeared-lipstick ladies awaiting priests dressed in the Vestments of Sorrow smearing the Sign of The Cross on their foreheads, with thumbs dipped in the ashes of last year's Palm Sunday palms. Outside, rain washed Jackson Square and up and down the whole Sliver on the River we call New Orleans.
I have doubts about many theological things, but none whatsoever about Ash Wednesday. It celebrates our journey from ashes to ashes. In a return directed by Canon Law over forty-days of stony passage we call Lent, a time, like Sequestration, of man-made deprivation. The handy work of theologians and politicians.
Spring, under the name of Easter, comes at the end of these forty days of Lenten fasting. So saith Pope Gregory's Calendar. By which we measure all this. And not too accurately, we might note. What with the Moon and all those Stars moving around faster than the dogmatic eye can see.
Today, soft-green rules Big Swamp City, and all the feeder rivers, bayous and swamps beyond. We old horned alligators lie on the banks in whatever sun we can find dreaming of Carnivals past, Easter baskets and Spring.
Begone Lent and Sequestration, man made hair-shirts!
"Get thee behind me, Satan," Matthew 16:23, "You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men."
L. A. Norma lifted the window a bit higher to give her cigarette smoke greater egress, and asked, "Did you see that man on Mardi Gras day, in the headdress and mantle of an Egyptian Pharaoh and a sign around his neck reading, 'WILL RULE FOR FOOD'?
"I saw him again, on Ash Wednesday. He was with a Cleopatra who took off her snake armband and held it to her breast. Delicately exposed, of course. We were at the Communion Rail, and I was close enough to see them mouth, 'Asp Wednesday,' to each other. I would not swear to this, but I think the Priest smiled."