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"All humans seek the illusive touch of another's Soul, which opens us to the sense of belonging to something bigger than the self. Dr. Kortsch has given us the true "tao" of relationship in this brilliant exploration of emotional tapestry. We will be grateful for this illumination of spiritual partnership for generations to come." Chris Griscom, Spiritual Leader, Author

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Friday, March 17, 2017

Nostalgia: The Aroma of Coffee


Emptying the grains of a packet of aromatic dark Costa Rican coffee into an airtight container earlier today, in my mind's eye I suddenly saw my maternal grandmother standing in front of me making the same motions of cutting open a packet and emptying the coffee grains into a container (the very same one I was using) so many times, so many years ago. That memory then took me to the next one of that sunlit living room where she, my aunt, and I would sit drinking that coffee at breakfast in delicate Meissen cups (whenever I was visiting) at a Biedermeier-like table that stood gracefully on a pale blue Persian rug, all of which were left to me when the two departed. Lush green ferns, large floor vases, multiple photographs of the living and dead in silver frames, and overstuffed heavy bookcases gave the room its character, much as similar plants, vases, photographs, and book cases are found in mine, so many years later.

The memory brought the hot gush of tears to my eyes. Suddenly. For no particular reason. I loved my grandmother, but I have no particular sadness connected to her death, when I was already in my 30's, mother of three children. She died of old age. Her life had been a good one, albeit with many difficult chapters. She and my aunt brought great joy to me - especially to my younger self - and the memories I have of them both from that period of my own life are rich and joyful, with an element of lushness and mystery. 

My other grandmother, while very loving and sweet, simply could not be compared because we never communicated at that level, despite living closer to me geographically for a time, and further, she died when I was only 13, so the memories were less fixed.

But this grandmother, who wafted into my thoughts this morning thanks to that aromatic dark coffee - still in its packet - had a significant impact on my life. She introduced me to new ideas; I might say to ideas that were not the ideas that were discussed in my parents' home (which was quite eclectic). While my parents spoke of ideas and read books that dealt with so many of life's mysteries, and that fascinated me - and continue to fascinate me - endlessly, my grandmother showed me the rich world of mundane life. The stories she shared with me of her own pre-World War II history in Prussia were the stuff Rosamunde Pilcher and Maeve Binchy books are made of - except, of course, what she related, had really happened to her. 

She - my grandmother - as well as my aunt added an element of historical opulence, or sumptuous thinking - none of which really had anything to do with material wealth - to my psychological inner world that I might not have seen and appreciated had I not been able to enjoy this close contact with them, despite living in different continents in pre-digital days. They weren't even good letter writers. And yet, we forged this connection. I write this in gratitude.

Image: My grandmother is the far left in the front row. My aunt is at her knee. My mother is the dark haired little girl in the front row at my great-aunt's knee.

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