I don’t really go to coffee shops anymore. Between mask mandates and my own growing introversion, the appeal is slowly fading. Instead, I make pot after pot of hot coffee or tea at home, clear a table, and sit down to write or talk to the friends who visit my woodland.
But I still miss cafe conversations – you know, the one’s just barely overheard from two tables away. The arguments and discussions of strangers fading in and out amid the general noise of some public place have always been my favorite part of going out.
[I’ve tried stopping into cafes post-mask-mandates, but it seems like masking faces also masks souls. No one talks as openly, no one argues as loudly, no one stops to say ‘hi’ and pours out a long confessional-style introduction. Everyone is closed up tight, and the cafes are lonely places to sit.]
Anyway, I thought I’d write a bit of coffee-talk. Brief and unconnected snippets of life. You can comment, and join the conversation, or just listen in quietly from the next table. I’m drinking my 3rd cup of coffee (black, because it’s Lent). My journal and planner are open beside me. I’m wearing black (as usual), and my dreads are piled up on top of my head. I also have a large puppy frolicking at my feet, which would be difficult to handle in a real cafe:
Have you read Gregory of Nyssa’s Life of Moses? There’s one bit in it, when Gregory mentions that “Moses entered the darkness and then saw God in it”. Moses is such a delightful friend for all of us who are having a season of darkness, because he continually approaches “the dark cloud where God is”. And we are continually, I hope, finding God in the darkness as well. Sitting in the dark and hearing the Voice that brings light speak to us. The unknown, the unseen, the soft, healing darkness of God.
And Also the Trees is one of those quiet, snowday at home sorts of bands. I listened to them yesterday while cleaning out winter excess. Soothing, dark, nostalgic – they made me think of the person I thought I’d be today, when I was 16 and listening to them in my cluttered bedroom. I’m not that person. In some ways I’m better, but in so many ways I’m still hoping to grow into that ideal-me. When I listen, I’m reminded to try again.
My husband is always finding new music, and that’s fun. Once he introduces me to something I tend to enjoy it; but if I’m choosing, I always pick the music that makes me nostalgic for futures I met when I was young. Rilke reminds us that “the future enters into us, in order to transform itself in us, long before it happens” and all my favorite songs say the same.
I have slow, 3-day sourdough loaves just out of the oven. They’ve got a bit of rye and buckwheat flour mixed into them. I love the color and flavour of buckwheat. Such a Lenten loaf. I think I’ll make a soup to dip them in tonight for dinner.
It’s an oil-free day today, which means that our fast has us skipping oils as well as animal products, sugar, and alcohol. I think this fast is why I adore Lent so much, the ritual and cyclical requirements mean that every day truly feels like a new beginning.
This week, I’m working on an article about conversations in our current culture of argument and contempt. I keep coming back to this theme in my writing, in part because of just how disturbing these constant arguments are. It’s coming together slowly though, in part because I have too many words and too little space. But it should be finished soon. Then I’ll head back over to my little, and barely begun, book of Catholic folklore, traditions, and rituals.
Skincare, actually! This Lent, I’m focusing on trying to detox and heal my body in a deeper way. Lent is the time to clean away all the heavy food of winter, and while I’m fasting, I might as well tend my skin as well. It’s been looking tired this past year. So, I’m mixing up masks, washing, exfoliating, toning, and tending. I have a body brush again, and some extra nourishing eye cream. I should have taken before photos to compare with after Lent, but maybe “during” photos will be alright.
I’ve finished my coffee now, so it’s time to hike bake home and start the day. But if you’re in a sharing mood, let me know what you’re doing this week!