just down the street, under the highway 240 bridge, and only a few blocks walk from lexington avenue, lies a little coffee shop in the bottom corner of a fairly newly built, arts & crafts style building on broadway (just behind greenlife grocery). i think i had passed the coffee shop before, but never really noticed it. it’s not that flashy, and it just sort of blends in with the rest of the building, which is used for offices on the bottom floor and apartments on the top floors. of course, that’s the point, i think. i was expecting a very hip, starbucks-like atmosphere inside, but what i found what completely different.
i am beginning to learn that nothing is every anything that i expect it to be. for real.
this neighborhood, just north of downtown and close to five points, is known as a walking-friendly area. residents in the cute cottages that dot the streets behind high five, walk everywhere. to the grocery store. to downtown. and to this coffee shop. so, even though there is ample parking in a gravel lot across the street (which i didn’t know to begin with, of course), i parked on the street in front of one of the cute cottages and walked the block to the coffee shop. i actually always like walking places, especially since i don’t walk as much as i did in sweden.
i walked up to the building and the first thing i noticed was the large amount of outdoor seating in front of the shop. little tables and metal chairs, and then some big concrete slabs with stools. very unique. i like that. let’s see what happens when i open the door…
i entered the industrial-inspired room and noticed the buzz. there were people chatting, coffee steaming, beans grinding. and music playing. but, it wan’t too much. it wasn’t noise overload or anything, which surprised me. and even though the floor was hard, the tables were high , the ceiling had exposed pipes, and so much was going on, i felt a sense of warmth. it was definitely a hip place. but, it was warm. like a little coffee community.
it could be the community tables. this is a unique and freaking cool feature of high five. and i love it. i made my way to the counter, ordered my regular coffee (but forgot my mug. gaaahh!), and looked around as i waited. there were a couple of tall, curvy tables with stools, which were very inviting. it looked a super easy place to sit and not feel awkward, even if you were sitting with strangers. there were also counter spaces facing the windows with bar stools. and then, the mother of all places to sit. little round-ish wooden tables on a platform. but they were close to the ground, so you have to sit on a pillow when you sit around these funky tables. soooo cool.
i didn’t get to sit at one of these cool tables, because it seems everyone else thinks they are cool too. so i put down my coffee, pulled out my book, and plopped myself down on one of the stools at a tall, curvy counter-table thing. i didn’t even mind that there were 2 other individuals sitting at the table. we could share. ok. i did freak out a little inside – introvert alert.
but, the other two people were quite involved in their own activities… reading, writing, surfing. it is a coffee shop that works well as a place to visit on your own. it’s also a great place for conversation. there seemed to be quite a few students, or at least people studying. but, there were also middle-aged, young families, and elderly patrons. some were funky, some were granola hippies, some were hipster, and some were tourists (you can tell by the maps and the cameras). the thing i noticed most about the people, was that they all seemed to be totally away of what’s going on there = they are locals. still, it was a welcoming place.
i sipped my coffee and read my book, looking up every now and then to see what was going on. i never really chatted with anyone, but then, again, i got really absorbed into my book. and pretty soon i realized that this was a cafe i could visit quite often.
there is another thing that i have realized as i spend time in cafes around asheville… i love studying and reading. and people fascinate me. i am considering beginning a program in an area i have dreamed about/felt called to for quite a few years now. the book that i am toting around with me is reaffirming that sense of desire. if i do sign up for this program, it will take two years, and then i will be certified as a spiritual guide, a mentor. my idea is to not focus on any one spiritual tradition, but to use bits and pieces from many different ones. as a part of this program, i will also get me memoir done. and the cool thing? the spiritual school is just outside of asheville. more about all of that at a later date…
what i am saying is, that spending this intentional time by myself has helped me to slow down enough to observe the things that i feel the most passionate about, and the gifts/skills that i have. the quiet time has given me some space to breathe and to just be. and so, i feel a sense of direction. i feel a sense of comfort and inner peace. and all of this from only 5 days in cafes, with limited conversation with people. i wonder what the next 35 days have in store for me?!
who knew that a cup of coffee could trigger so many thoughts, ideas, dreams, and opportunities? how ’bout a high five for that?!
namaste. ~ liz
* just fyi: it’s the weekend now, so i’ll not be visiting any cafes. enjoy your weekend, sip on some coffee, and spend a few moments doing what you love. see you on monday! **