this side of the street

I sit outside the Atomic Cafe, watching Sunday glide by. I can’t count the number of times I’ve sat here like this: sipping tea and typing, my bike helmet resting on the tipsy metal table.bicycle on the table

Tomorrow the Atomic moves across the street, and I know the new location will be spacious and beautiful, but today I indulge my nostalgia for all the goodness I’ve experienced on this side of the street. The friends I’ve met because we shared a table on a crowded day; the sunshine I’ve absorbed from the sidewalk. Hundreds of mugs of tea; dozens of cucumber deluxe sandwiches.

sunshine from the sidewalk

I haven’t spent much time at the Atomic Cafe of late. My weekday commute is longer than it used to be; weekends I stay in my pajamas and sip tea at home with my husband and the cat. But today I remember how it lifts my spirit to sit amidst the bustle of strangers. I breathe it in. My spirit has needed lifting.

***

What is the use of nostalgia? I ask myself at day’s end, sitting in bed with my computer open before me. I haven’t written a blog entry in months. It’s been hard to write much of anything lately. Still, the last day of the Atomic Cafe felt vitally important when I paid for my tea today. I wanted to capture some sliver of the sacredness I’ve sensed within that place.

Nostalgia can be like sentimental quicksand, pulling me away from the present moment. But lately I’ve struggled to get my bearings in the present moment. It’s been a hard season. Someday (perhaps soon) I’ll try to wrap words around it.

But today on the sidewalk I felt the pulse of seasons past. It’s not just that I’ve sipped tea there many times before. So many different versions of myself have sipped tea. And all of those versions gathered at the Atomic this afternoon. They nodded to each other cordially and looked with interest across the busy street at the new location.across the street

Everything will change. Take a deep breath and whisper thanks for all that you’ve loved so far. Then put on your helmet, sweetie. Time to keep riding.