This picture captures, I think, the crazy sun of today. It was absolutely beautiful, again. And I was in the mood to celebrate outside, because today marks the third anniversary of quitting smoking. Three years ago today I was a quivering mess, crying between mouthfuls of Fritos or M&Ms, not sure why I’d made the terrible decision to quit smoking, and feeling quite certain that I’d never be ok again. But I went ahead and did anything but smoke till I was over it–about three months–and then gutted out the rest of that first year, and now I’m free from smoking, free from quitting, and just plain free. Quitting smoking is the best thing I ever did for myself, and it has meant that I have the ability to do things with my body that previously seemed impossible, either because I couldn’t breathe or because I couldn’t smoke. Like, for example, bike riding. And yoga. Sure, I could have done these things without quitting, but quitting has taken huge barriers away from my ability to do all sorts of physical activity, and it has also helped me learn that I can pretty much gut through anything. So this afternoon I decided to celebrate by riding my new bike down to the river and over into the Marigny, where I snapped this picture of the railroad crossing at Royal and Press. It’s like a ghost town by these tracks–seemingly abandoned buildings, overgrown weeds, crossing lights but no arms. And all sorts of people are walking along these tracks, crossing them, leaving the Marigny for the Bywater, heading toward the Ninth Ward. I’m not sure why this is the scene I noticed today, but I guess sometimes I don’t need to know why–it’s enough to notice. And today I took careful notice of my breathing and the feel of the sun on my back and the smell of beignets and the blue sky over the Mississippi River bridge and the tiny flowers at the base of this sign pole and the mother and son crossing these tracks, heading home, and felt, well, pretty darn lucky.