By Robert Bradley
My favorite haunt, Casa Azul Galeria Cafe, reopened last week.
What a relief! I love dropping in for early morning cafe con leche and greeting the day with my neighbors while sharing a few minutes before the calendar crowds us into little boxes of commitments and the insistence of daily chores. I am thrilled to have my old chair back and even happier to open my day with good conversation and delicious coffee.
Such were my musings last Friday.
As the day brightened, a breeze floated on the aroma of coffee beans. I drifted away from listening to Nancy wax nostalgic about the heft and aroma of books and floated onto the shore of their construction: the islands of wood, water, and the remains of fire.
How poetic that the very material we associate with destruction — water, and burnt wood — when joined together, create our most important contribution to the future, the means to preserve our past.
Paper and ink.
Ink was elemental to the ancient journey of self-discovery, and in consort with paper, created the ability to communicate and preserve our self-discovery over vast distances and years. It is truly astonishing that this simple combination of forestland and clean water offered us the ability to climb to such great heights of imagination and innovation while providing the opportunity to learn the lessons of the past.
But, vigilance and care are required. Paper and ink are powerful tools that should never be abused.
Words have the power to inflict unimaginable pain on others. It is insidious that no scars remain as a visible reminder, the damage wrought by verbal cruelty can remain untreated and debilitating forever.
The broken heart.
The crushed dream.
Likewise, forests and water must be carefully managed and cared for.
A tree can be only as strong as the forest that surrounds it. A lake is only as pristine as the water that feeds it. It is for these reasons we must return to our essence.
We are a forest. A community of many species requiring care and attention. We are water. The building block of life itself.
Together we possess the means, through introspection and remembrance, to become as paper and ink, writing our story and sharing it with the future.
Paradoxically, the rituals that bound us through the millennia, can also free us to become our true selves. For it is in the intermingling of past and future, individual accomplishment, and unified action, that we become like forest and river — a unified whole.
As for my very small part in the age-old drama, I prefer to contemplate it with a more modern ritual — a cup of morning coffee at Casa Azul.