Tuesday 9:30 am
We just came out of a long weekend.
You’re asking me ‘how’s life in the forest!!’
It’s a complicated question. Such contrast, to what first comes to mind, when one mentions/hears those words ‘life in the forest’!
Let’s dive right in.
Life in the forest these days, for yours truly, seems to be an unstoppable ebb and flow, of joy, bewilderment, more shocking news, encouraging business related news pertaining to my job as a coffee roaster, immediately followed by, not so encouraging news about people I know who are struggling.
I woke this morning, made coffee, went outside. Sat in my chair facing the trees. And tried with all my might, to feel some…stillness.
Backtrack to this past Saturday:
She is 22. A waitress at our local pub in town.
She approached our table. Her mask hid any attempt that she may have had, in order to produce..a counterfeit…smile.
Did she feel thankful for the mask in that instance?!
Her usually amiable eyes, whispered something..foreign..to what I’m used to hear them vocalize!
They looked, muddled, wistful…and sad!
After asking for our orders, I asked her how has life been?!
Her answer was shockingly discouraging “not that great lately”. And now!? I suspected, there was in fact, a forced ‘perhaps apologetic’ smile, underneath her dark mask. But I’ll never know for sure!
The mask. The thief of all kinds of smiles. It doesn’t care about their sincerity! It doesn’t care about their warmth, or their beauty! It just masks them all, hides them all, after..it steals them all.
Back to our young waitress.
Something compelled me at that very moment, to utter “would like to sit down and talk about it?! I’m free on Monday”
She immediately accepted. Then departed with our orders’ list.
Fast forward to yesterday afternoon.
I arrived early. I found us a seat underneath a red umbrella. At a local eatery in our little hamlet.
I ordered a glass of Chardonnay. And immediately chastised my choice, and discreetly mumbled a curse word as the waitress left. I hate wine.
Maybe the Chardonnay won’t be as resentful towards me this time! Maybe it’ll have mercy and not cause me a headache! I contemplated as I sat there nursing my glass of wine, and waiting for her.
She arrived wearing her usual happy smile this time! She was also wearing a black tank and bluejeans shorts. Her right shoulder and arm, covered with colourful tattoos of horses and dogs.
She sat infront me. Then ordered, an iced tea.
If you knew me, you’d know how lousy I can be at making small talks. I am completely abysmal at it! I can not consent, to its inauthenticity. Unless you get drunk with me! Wink. Then it’s all fair game. Other than that?! I can’t. Even ask my doctor! He always complains I just sit there quietly, and he has to drag even medical answers out of me.
So there we were, sitting facing each other, underneath a red umbrella. I think it took me less than a minute to ask “so, what’s going on?”
She was very open. She expressed her frustration at those treating her with disregard. Family issues. The plague causing patrons to act insensitively and discourteously more often than usual, lately.
She looked, defeated.
And when I asked her “what would you rather be doing instead!!” Her answer was:
“I’d like to work and be, with…horses”
The moment she uttered those words! Her genuine innocent and child like smile, returned. Her eyes lit up. He posture is no longer attempting to look smaller, and a dragonfly flew in between us, glanced at her, and said this:
“Child! Go! Go be with horses. Work it out! This job you’re doing, is ravaging your innocent soul! It’s feeding on your youth, and ingesting your joy!
Child, leave it all behind! Listen to your inner voice. Follow the horses. They will guide you to safety. Where your smile will bloom, and your spirit becomes awaken! And with the guidance of the horses, you’ll find where you belong!”
I hope she heard the message.