Knot whispers wisdom for seeing the beauty in each other

COFFEE WITH WARREN, with Warren Harbeck
Cochrane Eagle, June 2, 2016

Lost in a crowd, walked all over, ignored, a knot in floor at Cochrane Coffee Traders gives valuable lesson in embracing overlooked beauty in each other. Photos by Warren Harbeck

As has been my Saturday noon-hour custom for years, I arrived at Cochrane Coffee Traders, ordered my usual half cup of light roast, and took one of my favourite tables in the balcony.

Except, that Saturday wasn’t quite usual; I was by myself.

My wife Mary Anna was away for the day, and another couple we often visit with were away, too. It was only as I was about to leave that I discovered I was not nearly as alone as I’d thought. And was it ever a beautiful discovery, rich in timeless truth!

While sipping my coffee, I took out my smartphone, caught up on the latest headlines and Facebook postings, and checked my email. Nothing to respond to, but what amazing stories of courage and community spirit in the aftermath of the Fort McMurray wildfire!

I finished my coffee and was about to put my smartphone back into my shirt pocket when something on the floor caught my eye.

The floor. Ah yes, the balcony floor at Coffee Traders! How many thousands of souls – and soles – had passed over it? How many tables and chairs had been dragged over its rustic surface? The wear-patterns on the floor by my table could have told volumes of fascinating stories about the guests who had just sort of taken it for granted.

Myself included!

I looked more closely. The five-inch-wide wooden planks were punctuated with knots – many knots, randomly placed – all to be completely ignored.

Or so I thought.

One of those knots was pleading with me to take its picture before I put my smartphone away.

And since that knot obviously wasn’t in a position to take a selfie, how could I deny it this small favour?

The knot was regal in appearance, almost symmetrical in design, exquisite in every detail.

But for all the years I’d sat at that table, I’d never noticed it before. I’d taken it for granted, walked over it, and gone my way. I’d never tuned into the subtle signals of its inspiring presence in the room.

In the stillness of that moment, however, the eyes and ears of my heart were opened and I heard what the knot had been whispering all along: “I am like the many people you encounter every day around town. Don’t just take them for granted, walk all over them, and go on your way. If you enjoy my knotty beauty, then even more so, enjoy those amazing people around you! They’re beautiful, too!”

Well, I took Knot’s portrait, as well as a shot of his neighbourhood. (See photos.)

By the way, can you identify Knot in his busy setting? He’s at bottom centre. Once you know him as a friend, you can’t miss him.


© 2016 Warren Harbeck

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