Morning coffee is one of my most comforting rituals around here, especially on Saturday morning when I'm not trying to get myself and two kids out the door in time for school and work. Today, when it is still below 30 degrees outside, it is a time for reading, for reflection and sometimes deep conversation.
On Saturdays it is understood that I do not get out of bed until I smell the coffee; it's the Hermit's job. As soon as he gets out of bed, Starflower and Calvin come to take his place (Mr. Attitude is already next to me) along with one or more felines. Puff does "the neck warmer", but only on Starflower; she attracts cats for some reason.
The Hermit goes out to fill the blue speckled enamel camp coffee pot from the pump, then sets it on the stove in the cook shed to heat. Meanwhile he grinds the coffee (Alakef organic fair trade, Sumatran or French Roast) and puts it in the top of the coffee maker. When the water is nearly boiling, he brings it in and pours it in the coffee maker. Simplicity in coffee. We have a Cuisinart coffee maker that somehow got broken during the most recent move; we could get it fixed, but the ritual of making coffee this way somehow appeals to us now.
I roll out of bed, grabbing what I left off reading the night before; today it's Gary Snyder's Turtle Island collection of poems. (note to dharma bum--I read one out loud, whether anyone listened or not) The Hermit is browsing through the latest issue of Countryside magazine. Saturday morning cartoons are on TV; I don't particularly like them, but I know they are not necessarily going to do irreparable harm to my childrens' minds either. Everything in moderation.
Gradually a conversation begins, a thought here, an observation there; reading is set aside. Calvin observes how he can't understand why so many people buy their house when it's much more fun to make their own. Fun, maybe. Rewarding, definitely. Work, you bet.
We talk about this homesteading lifestyle. We are a lot different from many of the people who write in Countryside. For them, it's a lot about religion and frugality. For us, it's the search for what's right, for the Good Life. For living lightly on the land and being a part of it. Frugality can become a religion in itself; if the object is to spend as little money as possible, and brag in a magazine about how you did it, isn't that just a form of being controlled by money, just as much as making as much money as possible is? Everything in moderation. This ain't Folgers Decaf we're drinking here.
In another time, The Hermit would have been out in a duck blind on this frosty morning. I can tell he misses it sometimes. He talks about how it wasn't the act of hunting itself, the killing, but the mere purpose of living completely in the moment. And I agree. He says it's different, now that we live in the country, it is hard to comprehend having the time to engage in something like hunting, or cross country skiing, or anything else we used to do for recreation when we lived in the suburbs. Yes, but in a way living out here has somehow taught me to live in the moment, to look up from my work and see the light glistening in the branches of the white pine.
In an hour or two we will be working. But there is a time for work, and a time for morning coffee, and that time is never to be rushed.