Monday, May 7, 2012

Coffee and the Art of Everyday Living


In spring everything wakes up. Life is more buoyant and seems easier. Morning coffee takes on a new sense of pleasure. Birds chirp while coffee gurgles in the background as it brews, the children are still sleeping and you can hear the sweet silence of the house and remnants of the newspaper lie waiting for further exploration before being discarded. In the case of our town--Montclair--people are also mulling over something big during morning coffee: the election, which is being covered by the New York Times. This election will elect a new mayor, a council person from each ward and two at-large council people. It takes at least two cups of coffee (at least for me) to parse the three major tickets and the idea of business development to increase ratables versus the idea of evolving the tax code creatively to protect schools and the streetscapes while not unduly burdening taxpayers. Hard to figure it out, but easy to care a great deal in a place where civic pride is not a small matter.

 
Spring is also the time for a slew of cultural and artistic events. Last week, I had the pleasure of attending a fashion show given by students at Montclair State University. The students artfully created fashion ranging from everyday off-the-rack dresses and business-casual outfits to haute couture. There were beautiful girls in beautiful dresses, but when one young woman walked out in a head scarf with a tan-skin-colored chiffon blouse and a high-waisted, floor-length Missoniesque skirt, everyone in the room stopped breathing for a millisecond. She was literally that beautiful---and very mysterious. I loved her dignity and her sense of herself as an everyday fashionista. Were the situation different---I would have sought her out to get a quote and learn more…but we were there as guests. 

The schwag was really nice too, especially the iPad case and the Marie Chavez bracelets that my daughter and I have not stopped wearing since we got them. We also had the opportunity to hear the band “Sibvon Rose” perform. They were amazing. There was a lot of creative energy swirling around on that cool spring evening--and a lot of hot coffee being brewed and consumed.

 
There was a sense of creative adventure everywhere. We had walked to this event from our house and I was struck by all of the random sculptures that I often ignore walking through campus. But one stuck with me.  Students had assembled an ephemeral sculpture out of Starbucks cardboard cup holders. They were assembled on top of a crate flat, built up and out and bent randomly into various configurations. There were flecks of dirt everywhere. I looked at this work of art and thought of all of the hands that had held cups full of (mainly ) coffee and all of the hands that had assembled that sculpture. Another example of coffee driving creativity, unity and art for the sake of art. 

Enjoy your morning coffee and your afternoon coffee and, if possible, enjoy every single day of spring 2012! Also, please remember to VOTE!!!



6 comments:

Lisa W. Rosenberg said...

I love this incidental celebrating of Spring life, election and all!
Just nominated you for a Versatile Award and Beautiful Blogger!

Nicole Gray-Chan said...

Lisa, thank you!!!!

The last blogger said...

Here is my first comment/question:
At your favorite coffee house, when selecting a stirrer, do you ever pick the one that is sticking up, or do you select one that is hidden in the pack?

The last blogger said...

The comment/question about stirrer use really got me to thinking: mostly that he/she should ponder more serious matters. Loved your reflections on spring and the rebirth of creativity around this time of year. Keep those blogs coming!

Nicole Gray-Chan said...

To: The last blogger. Thank you for your comments, which seem very well thought out.In fact, stirrer selection (especially in the context of coffee-drinking) can be quite serious business, especially if one is open to pondering the metaphorical implications of choosing the first one you see, or making a more selective decision. Cheers!

Anonymous said...

I usually throw all the stirrers in the air and let fate take a hand.