A Simple Cup of Coffee
By Jo Manning
The air sang with sunshine and birdcalls, although I had to admit, it was a raucous robin who made most of the noise! It was spring on the West Coast, delayed this year until mid-May, but now coming to life, slowly, blossom by blossom, so lovely. I ventured forth, blinded by the light, out onto the sidewalk, my scooter carrying me along.
The hawthorns above me were rosy with pink petals as I went carefully around the hedge guarding the corner. One day I nearly ran into a friend, scary for both and not forgotten.
This was no idle scoot. I had a plan which would take me through nearby Beacon Hill Park, busy today with holiday crowds. I steered for a quieter path, scooting through the darkness of the firs high above, avoiding the ducks in mating mode.
I came out again into sun shining through newly emerged leaves, thinking of Larkin’s, “The trees are coming into leaf,” as I glided through sun and shadow. A path carved from the main road with a divide allowed me to rev up and tear along briefly, past the wildflower meadow, until it was time to turn up towards my destination. My plan was taking shape but now there was a hitch. I was lost.
Dazed by the sunshine, I faced a maze of paths. I had no idea where I was, except I was in this enchanting park, enchanted. There were others though, who had resisted this spell, and knew where they were. They were also happy to put me right, and, zigging and zagging, I found my way to my destination, a delicious, tangy cup of coffee.
The coffee shop was almost hidden with sippers seated outside, and passersby. I parked safely, and grabbing a cane, went in search of short, medium, to go.
This simple task requires great navigational skill when one is old, with fading sight, and shaky legs. One needs to plan with care, heading for the doorway, leaning on the counter as the order is given, finding the cream and fixing the cup top securely, and then, proudly, mission almost accomplished, bearing my treasure to my scooter basket.
I had done it. The people watching were amused at my shaky passage, not realizing perhaps how daring it was. I had done it now, but there will be a time when I can no longer find my way to this simple treat.
Now, though, I was supremely happy as I meandered back through the Park, stopping, and sipping, in total content.