Blueberry purple haze. (Admittedly my fondness for the flavor has a bit to do with the name itself. Purple haze? How could it not be delicious?) Not a coffee I would buy for everyday home enjoyment, but it was the perfect welcome to my day off. I parked my Jeep down the street so I could walk. Is there nothing better than walking and letting your mind float? I think not! The coffee shop is always warm, fragrantly greeting customers, no matter if you arrive through the southern sunshined backdoor or the old fashioned “gotta give it a tug” front entry, with the smells of coffee and warming ham for sandwiches and bigger than life scones. It smells of old building, both owned and operated by a couple I have known since high school. A person would never associate one without the other, high school sweethearts they were and are. I could easily over-romanticize them but I could never be jealous. I am just very glad that such love stories still exist.
As I poured coffee into the mix of creamer and sweetener, my eyes darted to newspaper headlines and crafty items displayed for sale and the old photographs on the wall. My ears caught music and the distance of men’s conversation at a nearby table. How very far away they seemed even though I could have spilled coffee on them had I turned too quickly to the door. As I reached for the plastic lid, an older gentleman was alongside, greeting me pleasantly.
I knew him although I was certain he would not remember me. And although I wanted badly to address him by name, to let him know he was worth remembering, instead I smiled, returning his pleasantries. We smiled over coffee, I paused, then turned to leave. He had come from that distant table of men during their break in conversation when almost by mutual cue, gathered people will pause for refreshment of their glasses, cups or bodies. And even though he rose from that group of men, his companion from twenty years ago was not with him. This was Quinn’s friend.
In seconds of our smiles I remembered Quinn, striking a conversation with them at a local tavern during the proverbial “girl’s night out”. Amazing how quickly memory can reel ones mind back to a point in time. Equally amazing is how the impact of a conversation not only remains but is enlivened once again, staying with me in the moments of today. Quinn was a Vietnam war veteran. A militia man, in the front of the war – on the front – had shared stories with me when I turned on my barstool. I had been disappointed with the gathering when the conversation itself turned – as it sometimes does. In those days I would not have disagreed nor would I have had the good sense to leave. No, in those days I just sat.
But I turned on my stool, away from the gathering. That is when I met Quinn. Twenty years ago I had been struck by the conflict between the gruesome violence of his war experiences and the kindness of his demeanor. I gasp today at the memory just as I had years ago. With every justifiable reason to despise the world, he did not. With every reason to be harsh, he spoke softly. With every reason he held a gaze with his eyes I know now I will never forget.
All within seconds of a smile while pouring blueberry purple haze coffee shop coffee…
I whisper to you all a secret: I have a selfish dream. Perhaps dreams are not gifts of the Divine but only products of human, individual aspiration and fantasy.
Is there a difference?
With the low light of a dimmed lamp and the muffled noise of my son’s computer, I write. My dog, Wally, has discovered the spring joy of a moth flitting near the lighted heat of that lamp. He chases to discover. He chases with joy. He chases because it is his to do so. Now true enough I worry about the lamp’s survival, but the chase ends soon enough…
It has occurred to me in these past weeks that I have never really ‘gone for it’ with all I have in me. For me. I have pretended and pretended to pretend. I have cared only to discover I had not cared enough. I have thought and reasoned to the edges of what I thought only to discover there was so much more to think.
So amid the times when the lawn gets mowed halfway and I spend the majority of a day-off hauling garbage or dentist appointments I realize the need to change. Again. How many times have I failed, then I began again? How many times did I almost wish to fail because in failure comes an answer? How many times instead of failure, did I find that gnawing feeling to make a slight change or – wait! better still: the gnawing feeling of “this-is-the-path-you-bleeping-idiot-Steph-it’s-hard-and-it-will-take-a-long-time” feeling. Yeah. That one. Sounds cute when I say it as a by-line. My life is “one brick at a time”. Literally.
And for me I liken it to driving my Jeep. There are stretches of country roads with curves deep enough to simultaneously marvel at the engineering of properly banked roads, the precision of all the mechanisms in ones car and the sheer pleasure of music, driving and sunglassed eyes. But even on those roads, in order to travel them, you don’t keep turning because if you do, it’s a circle. A curved road can only be traveled by turning the wheel, then turning it back.
And gasoline. You need gas. And air. Combustion (needs air for that ever so little but all important and….continuous…explosion).
My dream. It is for me. What if, for only the joy and discipline of it, it is only for me?
I begin again. I do not like the fact that I look ahead on this path, knowing failures await. I do not like knowing that I do not really know. I do know that I know. This part of my life is like I have been trained by the experience with Matthias (my brick building).
My head might ache, tiring from too many directions and my own faulty processes. My body might ache from age, from work and from my own faulty processes. My soul might ache from life and from….my own faulty processes. But as Pentecost draws nearer, I am reminded of my years of searching and my desires to discover the “Wind”.
It is now mine to live, to take care of my soul and my heart – the explosions, but I wonder now if I had ever really engaged my brain into that path which has been carved for me? With the early morning I am reminded that the best questions are those we pose to ourselves for the answers are already there.
And if my memory of purple haze is all the closer I will get to that flavor of the day, then let it be the power not of that particular brew but let it be of the kindly smile reminding me that indeed, some moments are my forever.
Those moments are “forever fuel”.
Love and Blessings…