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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

rivers, leaves & lonely friends

And so the hiatus ends, Coffee Lovers. I am even posting on a Wednesday night, which, if you have read Stronger Coffee for a long time, you know used to be a regular thing before it became Thursdays. Oh, the good old days before this blog was all beat poetry and unitarianism. (That was a joke, of course, as repetition was the reason for what was a very restorative and creative hiatus - which is now, along with the repetition, delightfully over.)
I want to begin today's post with a very short, Alice Walker-ish poem that is one of the handful to come out of hiatus. I hope you all enjoy:

a solitary musing

While sitting alone
at the base of my mountain,
I laughed.
There was a cloud - gray -
vaguely resembling,
in its wispy & half-forgotten
meaning from days as a life-giving stream,
Now that we are at the bases
of different mountains.

It is not a particularly stunning poem and it does not make me enormously proud or excited when I read it. It is simple and has one short and less-than-shocking little story to tell. That is all. Read into it what you may, trying to flesh out a greater truth than is actually there; I promise you will find it, because it is the great and eternal fault of readers to give writers too much credit.

All of that aside, the poem is about moving on. It is about space, which naturally develops between people. It is about leaving someone to explore elsewhere; it is about letting someone leave you to try their hand with a different "mountain." It is about being alone, though not about being lonely. In short, it is about a very common, unglorious part of life. And no, it is not a break-up poem (unless, of course, you want it to be; I'm pretty sure there's a rule somewhere that says it's literarily unethical for me to analyze my own work).

So, why give this to you? I know a few people right now - lovely, lovely people - who percieve loneliness where it does not exist. They see the clouds and feel the pang of loss, in some form or another, but they do not see the joy of moving on, being free, facing a new day.

I love the autumn, which is, finally, descending upon western Washington after a very late summer. (It was way too warm out for way too long. And I don't believe in taking off my darkly colored jeans until the weather reaches over 100 degrees, so I was a little bit sweaty as a general rule.) As it wings its way in, I'm reminded, every few steps I take or breaths of air I'm lucky enough to take outside, why it is my favorite season. The red of leaves, the crisp air, the brooding gray sky - it means change. It is a subtle reminder that we all must weather new-ness over and over again.

Yes, you read that correctly: new-ness. What are we so afraid of? You see, that poem above isn't sad. Once again, it's about being alone, not being lonely. Life, in all Her seasons, is a teacher and a promiser of beautiful, wonderful, exciting things. At least, I've come to think so. If there's anything I've learned after sixteen eventful years on earth, it's that we are always surprised if we spend enough time actually living to be.

In other words, clinging to the base of the same old mountain and looking for those people and things that have moved on is a pretty easy path to misery. Move on to new mountains, my lonely friends. Watch the clouds, remember the rivers you used to be, but don't forget to breathe the autumn air and treat yourself like a leaf: brilliantly colored and beautiful, even if the autumn came when least expected.

May your coffee be strong, your passions electric, and your laughter easy.


  1. this is perfect for right now. it is just absolutely the perfect thing to say about life right now. you are absolutely amazing and so inspirational and i, along with a billion other people, are so glad the hiatus is over :)
    much love to you, you twill-wearing human <3 shreya

  2. How is it that everything u write is exactly what i need to hear and exactly when i need to hear it?
    Michael I freaking love u.

    <3 Gina