Mard Gras Second Line

I’m hardly an authority on second lining. I’ve been to New Orleans three times, once for pre-Mardi Gras, and every year my husband Rich and I celebrate in New Mexico. But I do love to dance. In fact, I’ve danced most days of my life, often by the hour, by myself, to my favorite music from soul to gypsy.
But I love–truly love–dancing in the street for Mardi Gras. In Santa Fe, that means second lining behind the Hillstompers, a mostly brass band from Los Alamos. On Tuesday we went from the Cowgirl to the St. Francis Hotel to, surprisingly, a little arcade on the Plaza where we danced around in the cold night before heading to another bar.
The joy I feel is actually tremendous–it is so magical to be unaccustomedly out and wearing a mask and special Mardi Gras earrings. And it makes me think about second lining and art. The musicians are professional. The dancers are just folks. A few years ago, I’d gotten some irritating medical news. I was dancing and fretting. Then it hit me: surely I wasn’t the only middle-aged woman in America dancing in a second line who’d received a lecture about her lipids! I suddenly felt as connected to everything as if I’d worked a zen koan.
To appreciate art is to second line. I wish I could dance to everything–great paintings, cutting edge installations, Calder mobiles, Lorca poems, Japanese novels. I wish I could dance secretly at the opera, the ballet, flamenco. I wish I could hoot and whistle and exclaim, not just at a jazz concert, but everywhere. Writing a poem inspired by something is a kind of second lining. I’ll follow along wherever beauty and inspiration lead–an amateur in feathers, stepping in time.

3 thoughts on “Mard Gras Second Line

  1. This is my favorite post ever, for today. I have been dancing to mardi Gras music, an old record of the Indians that’s warped but still plays. I have never been to New Orleans but once had a student from there.

    I love to picture you and Rico dancing down the town. I love it!!!

  2. Uplifted Miriam !
    Dancing with your sweetheart,
    then alone where ever you be,
    knowing this makes me happy.
    Our dance over comes unpreferred
    news, warding off memory loss. Still
    whoop and holler, hoot and whistle.
    Contagious- liberation of inner joy
    wins over stiff stares eventually.
    Listening for you gratefully.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s