Saturday, January 13, 2007

Room with a view

New snow yesterday, cold again today. This morning I pulled on my now-quite-familiar Sorels to run a few errands downtown, and to reward my productive week with a little down-time at my usual hang-out, Bongo Billy's Salida Café.

My current journal held one last empty page spread, now graced with the café's familiar window views. "Bongo's" is an auricle of the heart of this community: friends and neighbors come and go; table compositions change like square dance partners; conversations ebb and flow, pulse and rest.

Just the other side of my tea pot, compadre Jeff transcribes the week's haiku from pocket notes to moleskine. Casey, Brice, and Sadie call cheerful greetings to locals, top cups with "the usual," ease perplexed visitors into the routine.
Two tables down a young man looks up from his own journal and smiles at me and mine. Across the room friends crowd over each other's shoulders to look at a laptop screen. Milk steams, coffee grinds. Just outside, shadowy shapes of starlings flutter against grey skies, flash past the window, and are gone.

Last night's band arrives to cart out their equipment. The man with the journal looks at his watch and pushes back his chair. A father negotiates the order of the day with his small daughter. (Home first, THEN swimming pool.) Jeff heads for work.

I should go, too. I gather my things, put on my jacket, clear my dishes and head for the door. The next wave is at the counter, ready to take up the still-warm chairs we've just vacated and join the ever-changing tableau.