by N. Jane Allio
The morning was brisker that day. Summer is already fading... it will be winter again soon, I thought starkly while stepping off the bus. Once on the street I glanced at my watch, 10:23, an hour and a half early… well, better than being late I supposed, now what to do with all this time? I looked across Hastings St. and saw my salvation, three Waves employees standing on the corner, one in a to-go-cup suit, handing out free coffee vouchers. Yes! This is a good sign, today is going to be a good day, I mused crossing the street. Smiling as a voucher was placed into my hand by an eager employee who was obviously thoroughly enjoying the task of making a strangers’ day a little brighter with a hot bevy on the house.
While waiting for my little decaffeinated treat, I realized I was standing in the exact same coffee shop in which I drank my very first Vancouver, BC java. Thanking the barista kindly for ensuring its lack of caffeine and side of soy milk, I made my way to the milk and sugar station to sweeten my cup with a few pumps of liquid cane sugar – yes, dear U.S. readers, in Canada the native coffee houses thoughtfully provide liquid cane sugar and honey pumps for customer use, a kind gesture indeed for the iced coffee drinkers of the world, but I digress.
As I settled into a choice seat on the second level overlooking the first, I envisioned me a year ago sitting in the far right hand corner on a high stool facing the window, dressed in jeans and a t-shirt, head phones in my ears, a soy pumpkin late in one hand and the other furiously writing Accounting 101 notes, eyes darting back and forth between a black spiral notebook and the screen on my little black net book plugged into the wall by a long black cord. How far I have come, I reflected, almost two years ago I was a college student visiting my Canadian/American boyfriend, sitting in this very coffee shop completing college courses, unable to work, a stranger in a new land, on the tip of a great adventure. Contrasting the present, sitting in a blue and white polka-dot dress complete with a short sleeved khaki jacket - very 1950's - drinking my decaf, now a local of beautiful British Columbia, a degree holder, instead of learning accounting principles I pull stored knowledge from the vault and use it in real-world application, killing time before the second of three potential employment interviews, and to ice the cake with the sweetest and fluffiest of frosting's I am happy. The contentment washed over me while I paused basking in my own little secret moment of glory. This is me now and this is where I have been; how far I have come. The reason for sitting in this very place is quite different from why I sought this cafe out the first time, and I am so very happy.
|"Sunset at Mitchell" by Crystal Wong|
Seasons change, and as I grow I have begun to measure time not by hours, days, weeks or months, but by seasons. Summer seasons are easy going, work is light and fun is heavy, spring season is full of beauty and new beginnings, fall with its’ rapid changes and gusting winds, and finally frigid testing winter. Just like the seemingly never-ending Canadian winter, stages in life can feel as if they will not pass, that there is no motion, no progress being made, that the cold will last forever.
These seasons are however, ever moving, in constant motion, bringing life and energy to the earth. Those willing to accept the season they are in, finding the humor and joy in it, are the ones that live happy. Trying constantly to move into the next season before the current is compete looses some of the lessons that have yet to be learned or fun yet to be had. Patience, trust, determination, and dedication to passions and love, are the keys to floating through life in harmony with all the passing seasons. Being able to pause and recognize little secret moments of glory are essential. Being able to just breathe in a moment of contentment and recognition is similar to treating yourself to a spa day but for the soul... and everyone could use a little pampering every now and again.