Looking Forward To: Coffee

G gets up before me and makes it. Even if I’m awake, I don’t get up. I let her do it because I like hearing the growl of the grinder. 

She makes a French press: hot water poured over the grounds, a little wait for the bloom to form, then the satisfying break of the crust with the spoon before the stir.

While it brews, she feeds the dogs and empties the dishwasher, and it is only then that I trundle down and say good morning.

The smell of coffee is the smell of life. It signals yet another cycle of REM and deep and light sleep has been survived.

It is also the smell of hope and home.

And promise. Things could actually happen today. And I could actually do those things.

Once I drink this.

And check the newspapers.

And scribble in my journal.

And in good weather, walk the yard with the corgis, treading through the dewy grass, sipping, checking the flowers for aphids, or mold, or just admiring them.  

When we travel, we can’t go to sleep until we know in advance where our coffee is coming from in the morning. Not that complimentary drip stuff in the lobby. 

God no.

Not that coffee. 

Real coffee. Espresso

I once tried to give up coffee. 

I was on a health kick. Some well-meaning health guru said that my morning caffeine boost would be even more ecstatic if I gave it up for a while. 

It was well-intentioned advice but not good advice.

 I was intellectually unable to use my turn signals, say my words in the right order, or figure out how to open the dogs’ poop bags.

Mary Oliver would not have been proud of me sleep-walking through my one wild and precious life. 

The coffee chapter in Michael Pollan’s book: This is Your Mind On Plants, has one of his best and funniest riffs. It’s the moment when he has his first cup after abstaining for a few months. 

“But this was not the familiar caffeine feeling…No, this was something well up from baseline, almost as if my cup had been spiked with something stronger, something like cocaine or speed. Wow—this stuff is legal?  Everything in my visual field seemed pleasantly italicized, filmic, and I wondered if all these people with their cardboard-sleeve-swaddled cups had any idea of what a powerful drug they were sipping.”  P. 149

Eventually, he comes down off his coffee high and goes back to being just another yawning member of the tribe of the addicted.

I once heard Glennon Doyle say that she looks forward to going to bed at night just because in the morning she gets to drink coffee! 

I get that. 

2 thoughts on “Looking Forward To: Coffee

  1. I am nodding YES YES YES to all of this. And to Michael Pollan’s piece that I read in a bookstore when I was visiting Greenville, SC this summer. I remember that coffee elation and wish that I could get it back, but just knowing that I have a French press full of cold brew steeping in the refrigerator is enough to make me look forward to that early morning alarm. Coffee first, then morning pages, sometimes with a coffee-colored ink. 😄


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