Friday, November 15 of the Unexamined Life

In the cool morning one goes on one of those strange muffled walks when the world is still dull and distant–the week’s activities to sleep so incommensurate. One is vaguely aware of the cars, the sidewalks, the winter breeze, but in a way that borders on unreal, the apprehension not so much tentative as threatening to become distorted or to depart and leave stranded one’s incarnation in the world of objects.

Then the small storefront, the rich and real smell of coffee, the door slamming, the interior with no furnishing, no music, the choiceless selection of size and price and nothing else. Small or medium or large pressed coffee, that is it. I stand–there are no chairs–and sip and hear the grinding, the pouring, the washing. I hear customers enter, exchange words and money and walk out. I hear a conversation on the price of bagpipes. The sun across Indianola ave. begins to dawn on me.

Returning warmed, discharged into the tingling world where the light summons the living morning I see a circling flock of birds. They settle on low trees where berries of some sort linger small but winterbright. The birds call with the softest twittering, almost humming. I’ve never noticed how infinitely gentle the sound is, a soothing interruption, and I think: what merciful nutrition.

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