Pausing for Puddles

10 Dec


A strange thing happened this morning…my place of muse was silent. I awoke with Clar curled into my side this morning with nothing in my head but the sound of rain. The roof of my little bedroom hangs low and the bed is only full sized. I have a king at home and to be truthful, it’s way too big, even with Clarence in attendance.

Nothing in my head but the sound of rain. The air hangs heavy with it and I am in short sleeves. Suddenly, the mass of sweaters I brought seems horribly inadequate, as I knew they would be. The streets are empty. My little cottage is nestled in the neighborhood I know so well. Ducks swim in the road puddles as I squelch along to my favorite coffee shop in my Wellingtons.

I suppose I’ll walk the rest of the day with Clar, exploring. Today will be about knowing this town again. I went past the little cabin we stayed the first time we were here. It doesn’t pinch. Should it? Back then, I had busied myself with distractions of dogs, lists and itineraries. The most truthful photos of me on that trip I took of myself. He watched TV. I pretended the dogs were children and we focused on them rather than the fact that we no longer really connected as friends. I remember being here at the coffee shop with the dogs and everyone coming to pet them. We were the smiling parents of such beautiful well behaved boys, an outward projection that ignored that fact that we probably didn’t love each other anymore. We became a social paradigm. A lot of it was my fault.

Inside the coffee house, country music wafts out over the quiet. A small group of locals are comfortable with laptops and knitting in the corner. On this first morning, I have a perfectly made café au lait and I am off to myself in a warm corner with my sesame bagel and walnut cream cheese. A bright spot is the coffee. . .this type of coffee is something I cannot make. After meeting Ryan this morning, I’m taking the big bowl café au lait experience off my bucket list because his is amazing. He takes a full ten minutes to make it and it’s incredible to watch. Everything is perfect and methodical, yielding a concoction that I have never before experienced. I have an extra shot of espresso added to mine, and he grinds and packs it perfectly. Then, he measures the temperature so that the milk is perfectly heated. The froth is held back from the steamed milk as he pours down the inside lip of the cup, and then he layers a tiny bit of froth on top in striped lusciousness. My favorite part is when he bounces the cup to get the bubbles to rise. It’s like a baker spanking a pan. Equally amazing to watch and to drink.

Well if they freed me from this prison,
If that railroad train was mine
I bet I’d move it on a little farther down the line
Far from Folsom prison, that’s where I want to stay
And I’d let that lonesome whistle blow my blues away…..

This is what I love about being here, the feeling that at any moment, I might see a friend walk through the door. Someone who knows my name who stops to say hello and asks me how I am. Being at school is not like that. I live life by bells and within concrete walls that lock if I dare to venture out. Even though the students are loving and bright, I tire of never seeing the sunrise, of devoting the beginning of my day to others rather than to myself. I am bone tired of growing other people’s children up for them.

Customers come and go for coffee; the usuals are always acknowledged and the regular morning becomes ordered. The windows are lined with tiny twinkling lights, framing the misty gray of the morning. Light makes all the difference; I see it change by degree even in mist and the cloud. I cannot tell time by light in my room at school. There is only a clock.

Outside, the puddles are huge becuase it’s been raining and raining. The ducks waddle and mosey around in their element. I stopped to take pics of them this morning and watch them. For a moment, I paused mid puddle, muddy water surrounding my boots.This place, this road is so quiet. No plane, no car, no children in the distance, no bells. Just the tiny almost imperceptible splashes of ducks bathing disturb the silence.  I stood there listening for a full minute. There was a moment walking home where I thought, if I could spend my life walking to this coffee shop every morning for Ryan’s cafe au lait and a simple bagel, this would be what it means to be complete. I need to think on that and walk the town puddles and maybe let Clarence give the ducks something foreign to contemplate, just as this place has given me so far.

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