Wednesday 25th May 2011
The aroma of home made soup drifts across the road to the car park to greet me as I unpack my gear from the car. It is like a sensory welcome “home” reaching out along the street to call anyone within range. “Come in out of the cold.” And while it is still quite balmy weather for this late in Autumn, the hint of chill in the wind reminds us that Winter is almost upon us and the comfort days of soup and hot fires are imminent. And I have to say, there is no better place to indulge in such comfort than by the fire at the Old Post Office Tearooms.
How like soup, such humble fare, to still have the power to evoke all kinds of memories and feelings from so many corners of our lives, not the least of which is “home”. Who can forget the healing warmth of chicken soup, or the rich depth of pea and ham, the stuff that true sustenance is made of! Can you remember the soup that your Mother used to make? Or your grandmother? There is something quite symbolic about placing so many tiny elements together to create something new, something even tastier or grander than the sum of its components… Today’s offering – sweet potato, carrot and ginger soup with it’s cashew nut cream and coriander topping is a mouthwatering invitation to anyone walking past, to come into the warmth of the Cafe.
And so I do. But lucky me, I get to be here in this warmth and home-ness for many hours today, to soak it up on all levels and just sit quietly with my thoughts.
I have smugly grabbed the “green couch”, because that is the perfect home away from home. Lumpy, deep, soft – the kind of couch you really DO have trouble getting out of, not just because it’s set low, but because it is so homely and comforting, your body defies any commands to rise and leave. This is where I will spend my time with laptop and notepad today, while inhaling the aromas from the kitchen.
The girls are incredibly busy. Brenda is away, and Caitlin and Heidi are running back and forth, weaving in and out of the tiny kitchen and the throng of customers, with a sense of purpose, yet calm. I admire people who can remain so serene with the pressure of many waiting for their attention. If it was me, I would be feeling a little stressed, right about now! But waiting does not seem to be a problem here…it is a gift. To me, waiting is part of the joy of just sitting in this lovely old building, taking in the energies of an establishment that produces all of its fare “with love” together with so many pieces of history and art, all brewed together, like soup, if you will, and served up in the warm bowl of the present moment. I would not wish to be waiting anywhere else!
There are quite a few little notes laying on the tables today. People HAVE picked up the pens and notepads I left here last week and shared a few thoughts…. Humorous, whimsical, reflective or otherwise… just little pieces of their stories as they pass through here. Little folds of someone’s truth, if you will….
“Roses are red, violets are blue,
So goes the age old rhyme;
But I know violets are red, and roses are blue –
I’ve seen them hanging on the line.”
“With a bright cheery red pot to keep me company,
My back is warmed by the fire and company.
“I know you believe you heard what you thought I’d said,
But I’m not sure if you realise that what you heard is not what I meant”
Work this out!!!
(Edie and Dot)
“Cosy, nice place
With delicious, warm food.
A great start to our holiday”
(Dominic and Yoke May, KL, Malaysia)
“Sydney I tell of
the bays, the oceans,
Where ideas splash and children laugh;
And tell of the biggest coffee cup
That I drank in the Old Post Office
She sits by the fire with her damp hair from the rain,
Gazing out the French windows,
As her feet warm through her patent leather shoes
By the fire.
She daydreams of her son’s wedding as
Cars hurry by in the rain.
Soup is served,
Music plays the flower duet.
She sighs and thinks ‘this reminds me of England’
And says out loud ‘gee, I miss my Dad.”
Do I confess what I ate here today? I am not sure if this will be a good habit to get into, because anyone reading might assume far too much about me. But the chocolate cake…..sigh….. the chocolate cake……… need I say more?
As I pack up my things to leave, a customer rushes back into the counter to say goodbye to the girls….. “Thank you” she says, “That was the most beautiful soup I have ever had – I was so cold and it has warmed me thoroughly.”
And so it is.
I read between the lines
And glimpse the many colours that are shadowed within
So hard to fold one’s truth
Into such tiny places.
But that is the way life’s laundry gets placed,
The sunshine folded into sheets
And stored within lines for a rainy tomorrow.
Minute corners of comfort
Protrude between the lines of our story
Year after year after year.
Today, I pull the blanket of truth
From its hidden place
And shake out its many folds,
Unfurling its colours to the wind,
Airing the frays and tears in the
Interwoven threads of a soul’s journey.
I spread it on the Earth,
A multi-coloured landscape
A resting place to come home to
A place to lay a weary body.
I take the well worn edges and draw its
Heavy warmth around my trembling shoulders.
Fingers feel the softness and touch with tenderness
That which is constant.
Like a child enswathed, hidden and safe,
I fold myself in the comfort of truth
And close my eyes.
There are wide spaces between the lines now
And I glimpsed the tattered edges
Of your truth hiding there.
It is time for you to take out your blanket
Caress with love its tears and frays,
Wrap it around your shoulders
To keep the cold at bay.
Is it possible
That we can appreciate the beauty of another’s blanket?
In the dark night of our journey
When the lines drift free with no space in between,
Can we feel the warmth and wonder
In the folds of each other’s truth?