Musings of a Mercury-retro’d mind …

What is it that makes a cup of coffee taste differently day to day?

The same coffee selection at the same cafe.

It’s not really the coffee that’s changed. Same beans. Same ground. Same ceramic cups and saucers. Same pour. Same pitcher. Same half-and-half. Day in and day out.

It’s the experience of it that’s altered. The ephemeral. The intangibles. The ever-flowing and ever-altering peculiarities and details of any given moment in any given day that influence the experience and Enjoyment Factors of that coffee.

Yesterday I came to this very cafe. A daily jaunt it is not but I come regularly enough to know the baristas and cashiers on a superficial friendly basis.

My order’s unchanged most visits: a small Americano in a real cup with a little room.

Yet somehow yesterday’s Americano brought more pleasure than today’s. Why? None of the “ingredients” were changed.

Was it the friendliness of the barista? Her mood? A smile yesterday that wasn’t forthcoming today?

Was it the vibe in the cafe? Less crowded than yesterday. I was even able to get my favorite table with the wall outlet nearby for the laptop!

Was it the time of day? Unlikely. High noon visits both days.

I can’t pinpoint exactly why it is that today’s Americano — which is no different from the others enjoyed on many days prior — grabbed me less than yesterday’s. One that, as a matter of fact, so hit the spot that I had a second! Highly unusual.

Whereas at this very moment as I note the teaspoon of java and trace of finest grounds resting at the bottom of the white cup, my desire — my enthusiasm — for a second cup is zero.

I could get all metaphysical and philosophical about a simple cup of coffee and the causes for the shiftings in pleasure, in enjoyment, in experience elicited by that same beverage day to day.

Granted, it’s not the IDENTICAL cup of coffee day to day. I’m only contemplating malleability and altered experience with an object* held constant.

*a “mundane” object at that!

Imagine the implications when a mundane object such as a cup of coffee or a meditation boulder in the garden is replaced by a person or collective event! Mind-blowing!

I know not why these musings are floating about today. Who am I to understand myself or the way my strange mind works!

Perhaps it can be attributed in part to Mercury retrograde. About 7 degrees Gemini today (June 3). (A week from Friday it turns stationary direct, yey!) Mercury retro in Gemini and personally in my 12th house lends itself to odd contemplations, seclusion, withdrawal, meanderings private and internal.

The presence of Sun and Mars both in mid-Gemini also languishing through that same 12th house of contemplations and privacy only add (mental) fuel to the (conceptual airy Gemini) fire.

Think of a robed monk alone atop a hill or in the forest meditatively questioning the nature of things and having no answers. Only question after question whose answers — if he’s lucky enough to receive any! — only leads to more questions.

Suddenly I’m restless. Time to repack the backpack and venture yonder. I’ve truly no idea why I write on this topic today! A topic inspired by coffee — GOOD coffee, the best Americano in town! — in a basic unadorned white ceramic cup with a small unadorned eggshell plate (a stand-in saucer) beneath.

A reminder perhaps that rich, fluid and thought-provoking dimensions lie behind the most banal or mundane of all things …


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