After serious upheaval in ones life, it’s rather to surprising to realize that the course of daily living has returned to normal, the small things one does automatically each day have continued to be done, and in the doing have kept you steady and balanced.
This morning I awoke before the clock, and (with no small effort, I might add) extricated myself from between the two small furry bodies that had snuggled close to me sometime during the night. I pulled on the thermal t-shirt I had been wearing last night when I walked the dogs, the nearest thing I could find to keep the chill from my shoulders since I haven’t yet pulled my winter robe from the storage box in the basement closet.
Nine steps into the kitchen – the same nine steps I’ve trod every morning now for practically all of my adult life – and a flick of the light switch suddenly illuminates the room. I take note of the fact that the kitchen is now dark when I wake, when just a few weeks ago the sun had risen before me and was already lighting my way into the morning.
I open the dishwasher, a movement which is slightly foreign to my repertoire because we had a new dishwasher installed a few weeks ago and my fingers are still primed to release the lever on the old one, rather than simply press into the center as is required by this new model. Opening the door, I remove the coffee carafe from the bottom shelf, then the filter basket from the top. I insert the basket into it’s nest within the coffeemaker, and pinch a filter from the package within the cupboard, settling the thin brown paper firmly into place.
The sound of cold water pouring from the faucet jars me slightly, this first sound of the day today slightly angry it seems. It rattles into the glass carafe, and I transfer it with an even louder splash into the reservoir of the coffee maker. In one deft movement, my left hand inserts the carafe into it’s berth, while the right hand raises to the shelf above me and grasps the coffee container, a brightly painted ceramic Italian canister, with a miniature coffee cup perched on top of the lid.
Slipping the rubber band from the gold foil package tucked inside, I unroll the careful seal (Jim made coffee yesterday, and he always seals the package with an engineer’s precision). And then the best part, the smooth, invigorating aroma of the coffee, a scent heady enough that I feel my eyes open a little wider already even before one iota of the precious caffeine has slipped into my bloodstream.
I carefully measure out six (level, not heaping) scoopfuls, tipping each one into the filter basket. With one finger touch, the lid drops down over the filter basket, and my right had inches the machine out of the way toward the back of the counter, while the left hand presses the “on” button.
And now I wait.
I unload the dishwasher to pass those agonizing minutes until the coffee has brewed, or sometimes lean against the counter standing guard with my book in hand, listening to the steady stream of water now turned miraculously to coffee by the divine powers of Mr. Coffee himself.
As the cascade becomes a slow trickle and then the last precious drips, I reach for a cup, an important choice, for there are only three which will do for morning coffee. Today I choose a small, white china mug, purchased from a dollar store in Orlando in 1999 when Jim and I rented a furnished apartment for a month and I discovered I couldn’t drink from the heavy stoneware mugs that came with the place.
Taking up the cup, I first hold it to my face, inhaling the warmth and the richness of smell, almost able to taste this comforting cup before I’ve even put it to my lips. And with the first sip, the culmination of the coffee making ritual, I feel all of my senses stir to life.
So begins the day.
A routine almost sacred in it’s persistence which provides the transition from sleep to waking, allows me to cross the bridge from nightime to day and returns me to the world of the living from that mysterious, somnolent world of sleep. All told it takes less than five minutes -but aren’t the days filled with segments of routine and ritual exactly like this? Things we do thoughtlessly that profoundly effect our mood.
It’s all in the details.
Written for this week’s Extra Credit Write On Wednesday.