The day has barely begun. There's not much happening at the coffee shop.
The sun is yet to make an appearance but it's light enough for street lamps to be redundant at 6.15 am. The proprietor is busy arranging furniture and adjusting signage as I walk in, but smiles as he sees me. As is customary, mine is the first coffee of the day to be served.
Our conversation is as bright as it is predictable. I find a seat: Is it always the same table? I resolve to vary this detail on my next visit. I did realise I might be habit bound when he told me I was 'late' one morning. That was some time after he had begun ringing up my order on the till before I had given it.
It's not that I seek out predictability. Mornings however, need to have a structure. My brain needs time to warm up, just like car engines used to, until they were ready to purr smoothly. I remember one superior officer's less than subtle observation many years ago that the young recruit in front of him was not a morning person. Not much has changed since. Kind of comforting in a way that the old me is still there.
This morning sees moored boats swing with the tide, pelicans slice wakes through glassy water, walkers in pairs and single joggers, crisp air, and coffee in a warm mug. By the time the coffee is finished, the sun is up and glaring, seagulls are wheeling and vehicle traffic is beginning to interfere with the serenity. I am ready to face the day.
In this precious half hour or so, before my brain is functioning at full efficiency, thoughts surface that might otherwise stay lost in the background. I nudge them and turn them over, before deciding if they are worth pursuing. Maybe my early morning brain is sort of like a slow cooker: The ingredients need to sit for a while before they're ready for the table.
Rumours of thoughts materialise gently, presenting themselves almost like debutantes, anxious to make an impression, but not expecting to be taken too seriously.
For example, as I rotate the coffee cup on its saucer and rearrange the teaspoon, I begin to wonder at how incredible it is that I am here at all. This morning. This cafe. This city. This planet. Why am I at all? Why am I? Why?
What is my life? Is it something to be endured before dropping onto the ground and shriveling like a discarded apple core? Am I something more than a set of quantum interactions? For that matter, why do quanta interact at all? Why is there something rather than nothing?
(At about this time the coffee is usually getting low and the day beckons).
Lot's of half formed thoughts. The permutations are as many as there are mornings to sit here drinking coffee. Precious few useful answers though . . . except for one:
After my share of lived experiences, a (very) little wisdom has found its way to my door. This wisdom tells me not to give up wondering, or to give up thinking thoughts for which there are no neat answers. It also tells me that it is good to remember that the world can get on really quite well without me at the wheel.
Perhaps then, it might be ok for me to relax and accept my existence as irrational; beyond my ability to explain it, since it seems to be real anyway.
Just as I have an irrational trust in love and friendship.
Just as I marvel irrationally at the power of forgiveness.
Just as is my irrational faith in a God I cannot understand.
I could go on.
Never mind. It's a start, and the coffee's good.