How life happens in a coffee shop


For this post I can only speak for my life so I will. I am in transition and trying to figure out how to settle my life so that I am not wandering all of the time, as I have been the last 25 years. Sometimes you just get tired of life and being kicked around and dealing with losses of friends and maybe even the loss of home over time. For as Thomas Wolfe says you can’t go home again…but I am looking homeward now and I can remake home for me. I catch myself gazing over Lake Erie to the horizon where Lake Superior and Lake Michigan lies, and I am transported back to my youth when I stood at the lighthouse on Canal Park and imagined what lay over the blue eastern horizon. I know now, and I am world weary and ready to follow the geese back home.

The coffee shop has been my headquarters where I have arranged a job over the phone while drinking my large dark roast and sad folk songs play on the stereo overhead. The worn wood shelf at the window is my desk where I have written family and friends letting them know I am going home. I have gazed out the window at the busyness of Hertel Avenue in Buffalo and while it has been my home where I have picked up the pieces when my life fell apart (twice in ten years I healed in Buffalo), there is something about knowing when its time to go that is at once nostalgic and bittersweet. I have good memories here and good friends. Buffalo will always have a place in my heart.

I gaze at the people sitting here and they are all a life encased in themselves; many lives working and unfolding in the hours they pass here. Some meet friends for conversation about what’s happening in their lives. Some, like the guy in the corner ave found this the perfect place to crochet a green sweater, some are studying schoolwork as Buffalo has many good colleges. Some are lovers and some, like me, are alone and okay with their solitude, their coffee, and their bagel or muffin or biscotti.

You live your life everywhere but there is something special and intimate about the time I spend in the independent coffee shop. It is a restful space, a peaceful space where humanity is content to coexist for the time we spend in here as our lives unfold, as plans are made whether small plans or life changing ones like mine.

I end with a quote about moving on:

Nothing belongs to itself anymore.
These trees are yours because you once looked at them.
These streets are yours because you once traversed them.
These coffee shops and bookshops, these cafés and bars, their sole owner is you.
They gave themselves so willingly, surrendering to your perfume.
You sang with the birds and they stopped to listen to you.
You smiled at the sheepish stars and they fell into your hair.
The sun and moon, the sea and mountain, they have all left from heartbreak.
Nothing belongs to itself anymore.
You once spoke to Him, and then God became yours.
He sits with us in darkness now
to plot how to make you ours.”

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