Sunday, April 09, 2006

Celebrating Life at the Coffee House

Celebrating Gina's beautiful life, that is, at the Golden Otter Coffee House in Langley last Sunday.
Around the table(s) were gathered a wide array of women who had come to honor the birthday [girl] with words of love, gentle humor and gifts of art and poetry. I sat and watched, and for the first time in too long a time, put my watercolors to good use.
The act of doing while observing, thus weaving thought into the process embeds the memory deep into the psyche. I can retrieve the clear scent of farmlands and the sun-baked clay roofs of Provence just by looking back at the landscapes I painted while I was there: as an art student, in the mid eighties.
In Eckart Tolle's book "The Power of Now" we are instructed to the moment. My life being the life of a ...HouseKeeper...would, or should, I am told, be filled with all sorts of domestic bliss, but, knees hurt sometimes (says she meekly).
As I sat and watched Gina celebrate the passsing of another year, I sat and watched the coffee house fill and expand and grow loud and dim back into its usual book store quietude with unusual grace. Was I watching bliss unfold? and furthermore, whose bliss?
I then made some broad assumptions: These were all working women, these were all mothers, these were all struggling human beings.
And this was a Sunday morning.
Sure, I enjoyed the latte, and the biscotti I dipped into it, and the cake Barton made which Joni brought, and the Neruda quotes that got flung about, but each of those things on their own are mere acts of consumption unless pondered...or shared.
I reached for another color, trying to work fast and get the thought out on paper, worried that no-one would ever see what I was seeing: love unfolding, truly as good as it gets, and oh, how the sun does shine, today, upon this scene.
For my own solace in the end: I need to know that these moments exists, and that the place is near, as near as the next gathering is, as near as the place who will next hold it: the kitchen, the coffee house, the city hall itself perhaps (maybe they laugh there too?).
The brief sketch is like a map recalling me to trace my steps back to the observance of simple gestures, and to stop there, because there is no more to life than that: one itty bitty motion, one step, along the way, and the spirit that animates it, and a string of it that makes a life.
In the end, three of us got up to help Gina: she had yet to perform her duty, as the official in-House-Keeper of The Clyde Theatre, and she was a bit worried about how the job would get done on time/after the party, and before the first show of the day/and in between all those other Important Things.
Like a small stealth navy seal detachment, each woman, familiar with a broom, a vacuum cleaner and a dusting cloth, got to task, and The Clyde got Done.
Parting was difficult. Let's hope I can find my way back.