The wood-carver can fashion whatever he will. Yet his products are but toys of the moment, to be glanced at in jest, not fashioned according to any precept or law. When times change, the carver too will change his style and make new trifles to hit the fancy of the passing day. But there is another kind of artist, who sets more soberly about his work, striving to give real beauty to the things which men actually use and to give to them the shape which tradition has ordained. This maker of real things must not for a moment be confused with the maker of idle toys.
If New Orleans is not fully in the mainstream of culture, neither is it fully in the mainstream of time. Lacking a well-defined present, it lives somewhere between its past and its future, as if uncertain whether to advance or to retreat. Perhaps it is its perpetual ambivalence that is its secret charm. Somewhere between Preservation Hall and the Superdome, between voodoo and cybernetics, New Orleans listens eagerly to the seductive promises of the future but keeps at least one foot firmly planted in its history, and in the end, conforms, like an artist, not to the world but to its own inner being--ever mindful of its personal style.
Why is wisdom so fair? Why is beauty so wise?Because all else is temporary, while beauty and wisdom are the only real and constant aspects of truth that can be perceived by human means. And I don't mean the kind of surface beauty that fades with age, or the sort of shallow wisdom that gets lost in platitudes. True beauty grips your gut and squeezes your lungs, and makes you see with utmost clarity exactly is before you. True wisdom then steps in, to interpret, illuminate, and form a life-altering insight.
The river is now. This moment. This breath between us. The space between your heartbeats. The moment before you blink. The instant a thought flashes through your mind. It is everything that is around us. Life. Energy. Flowing, endlessly flowing, carrying you from then.. To now.. To tomorrow. Listen: you can hear the music of it. Of the passage of time.