Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 159

Hi.

Coffee: Maxwell House Master Blend, Office Coffee

I remember being on a boat. On the North Carolina coast there’s an aquarium, except it’s off-shore on an island and you have to take a ferry to go see it. This was twenty years ago. I was with my family, mom and dad.

What stuck with me most about the ferry were the seagulls. They lapped the water like a wedding procession, lining up in their best white gowns, waiting for bread. My mom had brought a stale loaf from our kitchen. We were a whole wheat family so the bread was dark brown and balled up well in your hands.

I tossed it. The seagulls latched on. They picked the best pieces, or fought for the rest. Blinding, a blizzard, white wet snow. By the time we got to the aquarium, there was no room in my head for other memories. The seagulls are what followed me, nothing else.

A few years ago, thousands of miles distant from the NC coast, I took a different ferry, much larger, and with a few friends, from the island of Miyajima back to mainland Japan, where we had a train to catch for our Hiroshima hotel. I was beat. We’d been walking since the morning and we’d climbed a mountain. We’d watched the sky go grey and threaten summer thunderstorms from the peak. But the thunderstorms never came.

On the ferry, I mostly thought about getting older. It’s the kind of thought you have when you’re leaving a place you’ll never see again. Halfway up the mountain, I’d gotten exhausted. I had to slow down. I was with three other Americans, they were all a few years younger, and they were happy to wait for me (we took up by a stream trailing down the mountain), but I felt bad about it anyway.

Eventually, I pushed on with them and reached the peak. At the top was a rock with no railing, a sheer fall into green forest. My companions climbed the rock and let their legs hang like Christmas mistletoes, but my arms were too heavy to lift myself and my head was full of vertigo, so I sat down in some dust by the old, grey stone. I looked up at the sky and it didn’t look any different now than it had at the foot of the mountain. Gradually, as clouds came, I took to sleep.

I couldn’t have been out for more than a second, but when I woke up I saw a single black crow on a gnarled, toothless tree. It had it’s head cocked and eye bobbing like it saw me, and when I’d rubbed the sweat off my forehead and gotten myself more conscious, the crow took off, careening toward the ocean, vanishing near the water where I’d soon embark a ferry, and leave Miyajima for good.

Grey-black skies at the end of something, or white seagulls at the beginning. Always getting ferried between the two.

Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller

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I was and still am that same ship which carried me to the new shore, the same vessel containing all the memories and dreams of the child in the brick house with the toy tea set.

Luisa A. Igloria

Coffee Log, Day 192

Hi.

Coffee: Sumatra Medium-Dark Roast, Trader Joe’s

An afternoon thunderstorm chased summer away. It was cool for a second, porch weather. I sat on the outside. The water went sideways, some got on me. Trees looked like port authority waving in ships; the gutters spewed like ballast water.

I tried to read a book, Ali Smith’s Autumn. Couldn’t get into it. It’s cheeky. It’s playful. The writing is impressive but in a self-aware way that turns me off. I put the book down and tried writing. I had a yellow legal pad and cheap pen. My father would scrawl notes on endless reams of yellow paper at his law practice. They’d take on their own lives. Late afternoons, playing in office corners while my parents finished work, I’d fence with envelope openers and follow the legal pad fairies into this or that crevice. I tried writing, but nothing came to me today.

Neighbors threw a party in the rain. I heard their umbrellas: ‘pat-pat-pat!’ They brought their kids and camped the gazebo. Kids played in puddles, pink and blue bathing suits. It was nice and busy. Their sounds went well with the storm.

It’s late now. The storm’s gone. I’m full of good food. I’ve had a few beers. Night sticks to me like a messy spiderweb.

Currently Reading: Autumn, Ali Smith

Support Relief for Family Suffering at the BorderRAICES DONATION CAMPAIGN

“A little self-knowledge is a dangerous thing.” – Malcolm Lowry, Under the Volcano

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Coffee Log, Day 65

Hi.

Coffee: Organic Bolivian Blend, Trader Joe’s Brand

I woke up at 6am. The sky was deep gray-blue. It reminded me of the Atlantic on particularly stormy nights. I’ve seen a couple oceans and a few seas and only the Atlantic has that hard-edged steel.

When I was little, I had a few recurring dreams and the most prominent took me and my parents to a big dock on the Atlantic coast. The dock was an amalgam of a few places I’d been. It had Wet N’ Wild water park’s showers and Wilmington’s boardwalk. In the dream, there was a big elevator from the lockers to the deck-dock. My parents were waiting on deck while I waited at the lockers. It was nighttime. I was running late.

And I always missed the ship. I remember watching it sail away without me, a hulk of a hull that rivaled the Titanic. Whenever I’d wake up from one of those dreams I had the sense that something important had passed me by. For awhile I obsessed over it, that awful feeling, until I got older and realized that most of life is important things passing you by. The trick is knowing how to keep your eyes open and thumb out for the next barge.

Currently Reading:
The Pardoner’s Tale, by John Wain

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“To know the earth under one’s foot and go, in wild delight, ways where there is water.” – Malcolm Lowry, Ultramarine

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