If we were meeting for coffee this weekend, I’d order pain du chocolat to go with my coffee. Would you like one, too?
I like my coffee black and piping hot, and I bite off the corner of the pastry then dip the exposed chocolate in my coffee to melt it on the edges. I usually end up dribbling coffee and melted chocolate, along with pastry crumbs, down the front of my shirt. But remember, I have a clean one just like it to change into.
While sipping my coffee – which is rapidly cooling – I’d repeat how much I prefer almost-burn-your-tongue-hot coffee and how I hate going to restaurants for breakfast where the server places a plastic carafe of coffee on the table. Coffee which is barely lukewarm to begin with, and cool by the time it hits my cup is not the outta-bed jolt I’m looking for.
I’d tell you that Raqi is beyond herself with grief and excitement as she learns first-hand about the cycle of life. She and Sparks just lost their dear dog Kaleb Spencer (yes, our family dogs have middle names) to old age. Sparks bravely accompanied his Dad to the vet’s after they made the difficult family decision to end Kaleb’s pain and suffering. A week later little Briar Rose, their new Shorkie pup, arrived on their doorstep.
Plus, Raqi’s third grade class is currently incubating a whole slew of chicks – well, right now they’re eggs, but some will become chicks if we’re lucky.
And there is nothing like baby chicks to make me think about Easter and spring being right around the corner!
If we were meeting for coffee, I would tell you about this little gem of a movie called The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill, and I’d hand you the DVD and urge you to watch it.
It’s a documentary about Mark Bittner – a gentle, unassuming ‘bohemian’ who lives in an unadorned one-room structure on the side of a very steep hill in San Francisco. There is a flock of parrots – escaped or let loose by owners – for whom Mark has become the unofficial caretaker. They forage ‘wild’ on the hill, and Mark records his observations as well as feeding and nursing them when they are wounded or ill. He has named them, and tracked their behavior, mating rituals and personalities for years.
The parrots are vibrantly colored, charming, scheming, cooperative, combative, blustery, vulnerable, and have a mutual love for Mark. I cry every time I watch this touching relationship that stretches the definition of ‘family’.
In one moving dialogue with the filmmaker, Mark likens our life cycle to the movement of a waterfall. He says before birth, we’re all part of the stream above the falls – moving en masse and indistinguishable. Once we reach and plunge over the falls – during the turbulent tumble (life) – we each travel as a single, unique drop of water experiencing our own pace, our own path. We drops come together, we separate, we spin and dance to our own tune. At the bottom, we all become one again, in the same way death dissolves us.
If you love San Francisco, parrots with personality, watching a loving caretaker tend his flock, or living the ‘simple’ life we all say we yearn, you will enjoy meeting Mark.
I forgot to find out if he likes coffee.
PostScript: At the end of this 2005 documentary (available at Amazon), Mark reveals that the owner of Mark’s residence will be demolishing it (code requirements) and Mark will be moving. Further research indicates Mark still lives in the Bay area and the parrots still thrive on Telegraph Hill, all having moved on in their own cycles of life.