I just had the following essay published in the September issue of Short Bites: The Vermont Shortbread Company E-zine. Hope you enjoy it!
Rediscovering Coffee, Cafes, and the Art of Conversation
By Anne Witkavitch
Lately I've been doing something new: Reconnecting with people in my life. Somehow most had become impressionistic blurs as I raced by them at top speed, running in life's perpetual marathon, sprinting towards a finish line with about as much success as trying to walk up a down escalator with my feet tied together. The catalyst for this rediscovery has been a little dark bean from Columbia.
Grind it, brew it, smell it, swig it - I'm not talking about the tinny, watery, brown liquid in a cup variety. I mean "real coffee," the rich, roasted brew whose aroma arouses a desire to sit, savor, and sip its delicious blend in the company of others. I readily admit my addiction to this aromatic cup of comfort -- hot or cold -and it has become a must-have staple in a life of ups and downs, opportunities and challenges, fast lane cruising and slow Sunday driving.
A good cup of coffee used to mean nabbing a java from one of a multitude of Starbucks kiosks lined up in the airport concourse. Today it no longer feels politically correct to drink my coffee on the run. Coffee has become a revelation for me and I am born again in my desire to feel it flow through my veins. I have made coffee in my life somewhat of a social custom, much like it is in Europe, and it provides me with the perfect excuse to slow down and give myself a break.
I now schedule early morning catch-ups over coffee with my friends, a pleasant, peaceful way to start any day. I regularly visit the coffee shop at work to grab a cup and socialize with colleagues I rarely see come out from behind their laptops, except to get their midday caffeine fix. My husband and I often rock in our chairs on the front porch, lingering over a late night cup, warming our hands around the base of our mugs as we share that rare moment of together time while the children sleep soundly in their beds.
Whether it is the desire for caffeine, company, or conversation that enchants me, I'm not quite sure. I do know that coffee has raised the bar on my quality of life - and, oddly, has also exponentially increased the number of holiday cards I am sending this year.
Ferris Bueller said, "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it." My little friend, the bean, has taught me to slow down and smell the coffee. As I saunter and sip my favorite house blend, I notice that the people in my life are now, at last, coming into focus. For now, I'm content with stepping off the fast track and joining the fun walk instead.
Anne Witkavitch is a Connecticut-based writer, whose musings about being a 21st century mother juggling family, career, and graduate school while pursuing her publishing dreams can be found on her blog: www.theeclecticwriter.typepad.com. There's nothing she loves more than to enjoy her cup of coffee with a thick slice of Vermont Shortbread!