Dear readers, as many of you know, Paisley Rain Boots is soaking up the sunshine of the tropical south this week. My hope is that she will bottle up a bit of that warmth and sunshine and send it up to me in the great white north. I, her daughter, am writing in her place this week; filling in for The Coffee Shop Chronicles. Marquette has few coffee shops to pick from; over the past year I have fallen for Babycakes, going there once a week to do a bit of writing. My observations are less in depth, and probably less humorous from those of Paisley Rain Boots, but all the same, I hope you enjoy.
There are the three in the corner, opposite the one in which I have taken up residency. College students tucked into the l-shaped booth: one boy, two girls. They are done with the day's demands of class. They are out, making their rounds on this blustery day where the temperature reads in the single digits. I overhear their next stop, the local brewery, less than a block from the coffee shop. Only college students would move from coffee shop to brewery.
Then there are the pairs.
The two girls, in their early twenties, deep in conversation. Their large ceramic mugs out in front of them: emptied. They never intended to stay this long. They have spent the last hour telling one story after the other, playing catch up after last weeks mid-semester break. They have taken this hour to pull away from the textbooks full of terms, the research papers waiting to be typed, and the exam that needs prepping for to connect and reconnect with one another.
The second pair. Two men. Their lives are an open avenue. College degrees under their belt, but unsure of which path to take. Scared and not ready to leave the comforts of this college town. Not ready to say farewell to the great lake, ski hills, nights out on the town, and even the ten a.m classes. For now they sit, coffee in front of them, and push away the unknown of reality.
Only three voices remain silent.
One. He has been there for hours, bent over his laptop and on his fourth cup of coffee. He is writing, or rather typing, with a few select books open on the table before him. A graduate student nearing the end, working to perfect his thesis. He, too, like the pair of men is feeling the pressures of the open avenue of life that lies ahead of him. But, for now, the thesis paper is his focus.
Two. Another man. A cup of soup in a to-go cup in front of him, though he doesn't seem to be going anywhere. His cup of water still full rests beside him. He seems to be breathing in the moment; taking a moment to sit, eat, and think about this game of life we are all players in.
And last, me. I'm tucked in the corner table, alongside the big front window. I find myself surrounded by papers filled with scrawled handwriting: words of story and thought. Wondering which words to use and which ones to save for another time. Boots off, chai latte long gone, and The Weight of Glory by C.S. Lewis open to his piece on "Learning in War-Time". I'm caught in the moment.
The coffee shop: a place for conversation and growth, learning and discovering. A place to think, to write, and simply, a place to sit. A place to delight in and rejoice in. A place to be in the moment. As C.S. Lewis once said, "Never . . . commit your virtue or your happiness to the future"; rather, rejoice in the happiness of the moment you are in.
Readers, you can read more by me here.