2023.28 : Summer Fog

Seaside U.S.A. Circa 2023

When we parted she was a free woman. But I could never again be a free man.

— Captain Crocker - Sherlock Holmes - The Abbey Grange

One of the cafes Mom and I frequent to get out of the house has seen us so often that they have put our order, ‘Ricky’s Matcha,’ in their ordering system. One morning, I went alone to jumpstart my brain with the high-quality matcha they use.

I was the first customer and had the place to myself for a good while. In that time, the barista and I had a deep conversation. You see, her mom is the caretaker for her grandma suffering from dementia. Without a word, she already knew the situation with my mom and me.

The barista shared that her father was a rescue worker who had to quit because he kept taking the trauma from the job home, resulting in him being a poor father and husband. After a many-year hiatus, he returned to the job. This time around, he didn’t drown from all those he experienced every day who were drowning. He had matured to a level his bosses put him in charge of training so his colleagues didn’t make the same mistakes he did.

His daughter generously shared her father’s empowering mantra:

‘This is their emergency, not mine.’

This deceptively simple statement penetrated my being and left a source of strength I use every day now. Such a marvelous gift to receive. Paying it forward.

There’s a coffee shop on a cliff overlooking the ocean. They make a tea I haven’t seen elsewhere. Essentially, it’s an iced ‘London Fog,’ which, for those who don’t know, is Earl Gray tea in milk. Drinking this iced deliciousness is one of the little pleasures that brings my mom joy as the long goodbye intensifies.

They call this drink a ‘Summer Fog,’ which you see here in this week’s photo. It’s served with the separated milk atop the tea. At the table, it starts swirling together. For a few precious moments, amazing patterns can be enjoyed before the drink becomes fog. The metaphor hits me hard every time.

Then I remind myself, ‘it’s her emergency, not mine.’

And now … know the photograph.

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