The world of Man is an ugly thing. Beauty is illusive and fragile. We roam a desert or wild outback wherein finding beauty is akin to dowsing for water or hunting for food, a constant never ending chore. The rewards are mercurial lasting only as long as they might and never as long as we may wish. It could be argued that if we were able to access beauty on demand and keep it for as long as we wished, we would soon tire of it and it would quickly lose its savor. Put that way, it is more easy to see Man as the mercurial element in the equation rather than beauty and that we must learn once again to see properly and to seek beauty in all its forms, in places where we have gone blind. The morning cup of coffee, for example, if taken for granted, has become a given, and is stripped of a deep mysterious beauty all its own.

From the moment the grounds are scooped, measured and deftly poured into the filter, their promising aroma teasing the unstuffed nose, to the final pouring of the first mouthwatering cup even as the machine pops and gurgles its final drips, brewing coffee has a beauty that even the most jaded can appreciate if they would but pause to think on it.

During the brewing, I fill my cup with water to warm in the microwave so that little of the coffee’s heat will be stolen by cold porcelain or ceramic. I push the button for “beverage” as I want only to warm the mug not cook it until its too hot to hold.

When the brewing is over, I fill my cup carefully trying not to spill a single drop. I have yet to find a carafe that does not dribble, so I slowly pour, keeping the stream small so I can listen to its promise, to just the right spot for creamer, a spot I instinctively recognize not matter the cup: my larger weekend mug, my Gryffindor travel mug, a standard restaurant sized mug or even a painted cup and saucer from my tea-cup collection.

I am not a clouds-in-my-coffee person, so after adding creamer, I enjoy stirring and watching the creamer’s misty wisps disappear. The even tan mixture means the brew is ready to drink, a sign that in a few seconds time I will feel the first of the hot liquid on my tongue and its acidic goodness will dissolve my morning mouth and when it hits my stomach, I’ll feel that odd, giddy coating splash.

“Ahhh” or “mmmm” I’ll say and lean against the counter just like in the commercials and have another sip. Glorious. I’ll marvel at how such a simple thing can be so satisfying. I’ll consider the Japanese Tea Ceremony and wonder if this isn’t a present substitute. I’ll toy with the idea of playing hooky, dreaming of writing and sipping coffee all day.

In the end the cup will sadly be empty, a reminder that the concerns of the day are impatiently lined up for their due. No coffee is strong enough to keep them waiting too long, but fortified with just a little overlooked beauty, they aren’t as onerous as they would be without it.

Originally posted in The Salamander’s Quill 1.0 now deleted.