Out of Africa and the cafe

October 27, 2011

I recently read the book Out of Africa. I picked it up because it is old and takes place on a coffee plantation in Africa and found the book is quite different than the movie.

Isak Denison, the pseudonym for Karen Blixen, writes about the daily things in life that created the background in the movie. She takes notice of the how the land looks at different times of day and year. She describes the clouds and trees, as well as the natives in detail.

I wonder if I will be able to remember those details when this season in my life as “small business owner” is over? I forget to live in the now and have a tendency to live for some future where I’ll have more time for those details.

One thing that struck me about her writing is that horrible things happen, and she does not dwell on them in her writing. For example, the coffee processing barn burning down or a major drought that kills many of the coffee trees. Those would be significant setbacks, but she only mentions them briefly in passing. It seems like she has a long-term perspective, in that the setbacks are pretty major, but they don’t take all her attention in her writing. She says, ”difficult times have helped me to understand better than before, how infinitely rich and beautiful life is in every way, and that so many things that one goes worrying about are of no importance whatsoever.”

The author spends much more of her time writing about the people in her life. She notices the people around her. That is one thing I can say I do, and that we try to do at the café. We try to notice people. Maybe that is where our stories will come from down the road. Sure we have had a few setbacks that we have dealt with, and undoubtedly there will be more to come. There will always be an endless pile of work to do. However, it is the people that come in and out the café door that hold the real stories of A&E Coffee.

For those of you who feel comfortable sharing your life with us, thank you! We treasure you and your stories!

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