I left the house early this morning and headed for my Friday morning office - a corner table in Starbucks where I like to settle in and write. Armed with my favorite pens and highlighters, a notebook, and my manuscript, I headed out into the morning rain.
When I got to Starbucks and climbed out of my Ford Escape I noticed how still and quiet the morning was. I congratulated myself for taking the time to be present enough in that moment to appreciate the stillness that reminded me of a winter morning back home when big fluffy snowflakes fell. It was that same kind of quiet.
I walked across the parking lot in the rain, leaving my umbrella in my purse and the hood of my sweater down. After three years here I must have officially become a Pacific Northwesterner - it's natural to walk through the rain without attempting to shelter myself from it. (My newly discovered curly hair might have something to do with the lack of panic I felt at the idea of having my hair get wet!)
Happy to find my favorite corner table vacant, I settled in with my Carmel Macchiato and began to read my manuscript. My intent was to read through the entire thing before beginning revisions, but alas the red pen in my hand could not be contained and I jotted notes here and there as I read. I am blessed with the ability to block out distractions around me so as Starbucks got busier with the usual morning crowd, I was able to continue reading and revising.
When I surfaced from the past I was reading about and looked at my watch I was surprised to see that an hour and a half had passed, so I began to to gather my things together. As I walked toward to the door I couldn't help but notice an older man sitting in one of the soft burgundy chairs near the door. He wore a ragged coat, was unshaven and slightly disheveled, and he sat staring into the space in front of him. The look on his face gripped my heart; I saw sorrow in his eyes and wondered what he was thinking about.
Was he remembering someone he loved who was no longer in his life? Had there been a recent death or falling out? Was he reflecting upon opportunities lost or roads he had not taken? Was he waiting for someone? Was he lonely?
And it struck me for some reason that he had once been a little boy, a mother's precious son, a father's pride and joy. For a moment I could picture him as a lad running through a field throwing a stick for his dog, his pockets full of special treasures like bubble gum and bottle caps.
I walked past him, heading back out into the rain, the vision of a carefree lad who grew to be an old man my silent and invisible companion.