One of my favorite parts of the morning is my morning coffee ritual.
I start off with freshly roasted beans from Vermont Coffee Company, specifically their Dark Roast. Their Dark Roast has always been a favorite of mine as it offers a rich, roasted, dark, almost burnt chocolatey intensity but it has a pleasant aroma and taste that isn't harsh as sometimes can be typical with some of the other dark roast coffees I have tried.
When I first open the air tight canister of beans, it's magical. You know they are fresh when they have a nice sheen on them. This is a greasy bean house. You know it's good when they're greasy. After that initial silent moment just after opening the canister, I have a quick reflection on what's about to happen. I gently pour the beans, offering themselves up to me when it's their time, into my coffee grinder. If my wife happens to be around when I'm doing this I shout out a nonchalant "Noise!" and hit the button. Suddenly the beans are dancing with each other, becoming a finer version of their former self.
After the joyous chaos of bean grinding is complete I fill the kettle with water and get my French press ready for our little morning party. Up to the mark and it's time to heat up the bath.
Amidst the heating of the water, it's time to measure out the heaping scoops. With my measuring spoon, I dive into the freshly ground goodness, filling my French press with just enough of the black gold dust.
Thirty-two ounces of water and six heaping spoonfuls is all it takes. No more. No less. Perfection...
Just coming off its boil, the water is ready to be poured, but I must wait. Thirty seconds to be exact. Slowly, in small circles I gently pour the hot water over the ground coffee beans, letting them breath as I go. Little bubbles come to the surface as I pour the scalding water, making sure to envelope every last bit of coffee in a warm embrace, up to the fill mark on my press. It's therapeutic watching something like this. The beans are going from solid form to liquid form. It's a satisfying feeling, taking a solid little bean and transforming it into something that gives off pure joy in the form of warmth, comfort and energy.
With a stir and the setting of a timer, I wait...
I get slight hints of burnt chocolate and raspberry in the air while I wait for my coffee to brew, pondering what I'm going to accomplish today. I gather my mug and half 'n half awaiting the moment where I can push the plunger down into the dark abyss, separating liquid from solid, completing the metamorphosis from one thing to another. Bean to brew. Cold to warm. Asleep to awake. Half to whole. From apart to together again. The cycle continues...
...and then I pour my first mug.
Wine and Song Filled Glasses
Emptied and filled with dusty masks
Bringing in unfiltered baskets
Full of all the screams we’ve worn
Capos fly over frets worn bare
Over which was held a stare
The tidings faith and feasts so true
Brought us together in song in you
The songs they echoed like cavern’s wishes
Spoken words and strange predictions
Oftentimes with goosebumps plenty
On one leg or maybe two
The blues held true in many an eye
Alongside hope and community too
These days they flew like a falcon in flight
Swooping in and out of our hectic lives
Although the time was miserably short
Our brothers and sisters learned a thing or two
We brought our gifts to one another
Shared our moments we put to song
Not long ago I didn’t feel I had a voice
But the messages there begot my choice
To choose my chosen words a plenty
and put them on the parchment
To speak those words on parchment’s surface
To dig below our imagined surfaces
To scream out loud and cry happy tears
Of life of love on the canvas above
Ancient embers burn through rows of trees their trunks and limbs defaced
Billowing smoke suffocates the breath acrid soot hastens fleeting
Calm invoked the mask is placed and oxygen begins to flow
Dust on the ground crunchy burnt limbs under foot creeping
Every breath taken the wind moves across your path
Forever it seems to burn white hot oak now turned to ash
Gone are the trunks of 200 year old gentle beasts
Hiding on the hills in hope they won't burn and fall with a crash
In the air smoke filled visions of light dancing on the clouds
Just in time the water bird swoops and douses all my limbs
Kinfolk gather and hope their hamlet will be spared
Leaning in and holding close their loved ones singing hymns
Mountains direct the fires burning on peaks and valleys down below
No time to waste grab all your things and knickknacks that mean the most
Once there was a childhood home now which stands just a chimney alone
Panicked faces dampened sweaty full of fear they lost all hope
Questions answered with not answers but more questions ringing false
Roaring in their ears the sirens deafening the solace gone
Silence as the trees they breath relief and dancing as they waltz
Tucking in between the gullies formed by water poured since dawn
Under blanketed ground of ash the light soon gives the sprouts their due
Valleys mountains hills and crests begin to enrich once fire's through
What was once a barren wasteland full of blackened trunks and soot
Xenial growth the pollen spreads and pedals will once again renew
Yesterday the ground it crunched under dusty feet creeping through flames
Zestful life like spring today sprung up through ground that forever remains
What a Beautiful Thing
It would be the frosting on the cake
The cherry on top
The soda pop bubbling over
at the soda pop shop
The sun on our faces
Eclipses don't stare
The orange face broken
and full of despair
What a beautiful thing
to see his head held low
World's view of us fuller
could finally again grow
Start over with Pence
I shudder to think
He'd still be better
than being on the brink
There's SO far to go
We're not even close
to finding the answers
to questions from all folks
Both "sides" red or blue
have some learning to do
Can connect if we try
It's what we must do
In closing I find myself
tearing up a bit
This place that's so beautiful
could work if we commit
To stand together among friends
and foes all the like
I know it's not all rainbows
and kumbaya despite
Find strength in the light
Find strength in the day
Find strength in the night
Find strength in what's right
A Reflection on Newtown
I want to do something. I want to help ease the pain of everyone I can. Every time I see the face of a little one it reminds me that we all need to hold our loved ones a little closer this year, and every year. Hold them close and tell them “I love you”. In a time of so much pain and unbelievable heartache I feel a bit helpless but want to try and do all that I can. We all must come together and show our love, support, and compassion for one another.
On our way into Newtown, I wasn't sure what to feel and didn't know what to expect. When such a serene place is turned upside down it makes you wonder how much faith you can put into humanity.
My first impression of Newtown was about how much of a quaint little town it was with little mom and pop shops lining the streets and it reminded me a lot of some small Vermont towns I used to visit growing up there.
The amount of support this community received in the wake of such tragedy is something that I will never forget. Flowers, teddy bears, candles, pictures, Christmas Trees,banners, poems, some from as far away as Hawaii, filled the sidewalks. I'm thankful that I was able to support the community however I could and decided to get a hair cut as I was well overdue for one. Many of the children got their hair cut at Fun Kuts so I was happy to see all of the money raised by the Fun Kuts “Cut-a-Thon” went to those in need in the community.
It was such a powerful experience and I'm glad I had the chance to go and pay my respects to a town and community that lost so much but has somehow found a way to stand together. Together we all stand with you Newtown and Sandy Hook.
Brian Theoret | Notes in the Sandbox
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