fast

Yankee takes off at full speed running really fast once I let him off the leash. It can’t be more than a few degrees in the still dark morning and after days of not getting out for our morning walk, I’m not surprised at this expression of pent up energy. He isn’t just loping along like he usually does, he is literally sprinting! It feels significant, watching this 13 year old golden dashing through the frigid air. Love. Heart beating fast at the sight of this elderly dog moving so fast. Not unlike my 80 year old father who still finds joy in skiing so fast in the cold mountain air. And bless Yankee, he keeps up the dash, only stopping for the requisite sniffs at just one of the usual irresistible places of whatever odor is there, and comes to a halt right next to me at the designated spot the leash must go back on. I am simply left with the feeling of fast as we continue the loop back to home. And now I am thinking about ‘expresso’, knowing I am supposed to be writing about this and today is the day, but not understanding at all why, in connection to what? Realizing how often this happens, how there is one thing, like ‘expresso’ that is calling, and how it can feel arbitrary and not at all connected to the space in front of me that wants to be occupied by it. So I conjure up the image of the expresso pot I seem fixated on recently…

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It is a tiny one person pot, the one I would watch Luca, a student tenant/housemate of over a year, make his morning coffee in each day. I remember the day after he arrived from Italy, unpacking this brand new pot from the box it came in, adding a little bit of home I’m sure, to this otherwise uncertain American kitchen. Except that this American kitchen already has an expresso pot!! And one that is in use daily, one that is over 26 years old. A wedding present by architecture graduate school colleagues, it is a solid stainless steel pot made for two, designed by famous Italian architect Aldo Rossi. I love this pot and have adapted my coffee making for all occasions using just this. Luca is now back in Italy but he has left me his beloved little pot along with a nagging curiosity about ‘expresso’. And now I have a collection! smile….

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So as I walk along, what is in my head is that expresso is dense dark rich brew first, so dense in fact, that I must drink it with at least an equal amount of some other hot liquid, usually water, to make my cup of typical ‘american style’ brew. I can feel the silky smooth unique quality of this brew that no other pot can replicate. Expresso also conjures up the image of crowed bars with people knocking back a shot that will result in a promised caffeine rush. This is where my mind is anchored as Yankee and I reach the end of our road and I realize the sky is now completely light, in fact the sun is actually coming up behind us! I don’t understand, we’ve only been out 20 minutes, and in this time it has gone from dawn dark to almost sunlight? It seems too fast. Hmmmm. I register the feeling of this as I peel off the layers of outer clothing and go to consult with my friend Google about the origin and intent of expresso and find this succinct description in the first item that comes up under ‘history of expresso’…

Expresso was invented in 1903 by Luigi Bezzera, the owner of a manufacturing business. Mr. Bezzera longed to find a way to brew coffee much faster. Wasting some time after work one day, he added pressure to the coffee brewing process, reducing brewing time. The machine that he later introduced was termed the “Fast Coffee Machine”, which is where the word “espresso” comes from…espresso means “fast” in Italian! Not only did his machine reduce brewing time, it made a better cup of coffee. The quick brewing time allowed the best qualities of the bean to be extracted, avoiding some of the unfavorable qualities associated with over-extraction. Luigi Bezzera was not at all successful in marketing the machine, and he had no money. Desidero Pavoni bought the rights to the espresso machine patent in 1905 and successfully introduced espresso to the Italian market. Photographs from the turn of the century depict Italian Klosks serving “CAFE ESPRESSO – LA PAVONI”. This was a very common site in Italy. Desidero Pavoni changed the way Italians drink coffee.”

And there it is. Fast. Somewhere in the space between ‘expresso’ and watching Yankee’s dash this morning I discover the heartfelt knowing of ‘fast’ in a way that teaches me once again, that my heart knows what my mind doesn’t yet. And isn’t this what all creative moments are in the end, fast flashes if insight that need to be caught and honored long enough to find resonance in the mind too? And then, not unlike drinking a cup of expresso, I allow the thrill of this moment to find expression in the body, by concsiously maintaining connection to the heart of the matter…

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