Thursday, August 14, 2008

Salal Cafe

What places are sacred to you? Are there localities that feed your soul? Where are the areas that just make your spirit soar? Do they include stretches of beach or the tops of mountains? Perhaps they are as simple as driving alone in your car, enjoying the silence or sitting in a favorite chair with a book that you never want to end. (When my children were very young it was the bathroom.....I know - not very poetic but oh so quiet!)

For myself they certainly include bookstores and libraries, the sanctuary at St. Paul's Episcopal church in Port Townsend, and the chair in the corner of my bedroom where I read.

But there are also very populated places that I feel a strong connection to and the Salal Cafe in Port Townsend is one of them. I have been a patron of this restaurant for many many years. It's definitely not pretentious or elaborate, with it's simple wooden tables adorned with small vases of fresh flowers but it does have a surprisingly light-filled sunroom in the back where you can soak up what little sunshine we get on the Olympic Peninsula while enjoying a fabulous breakfast or lunch.

I can't begin to tell you what it is about this place that envelops me in the sense of being somewhere holy - but it is palpable - when I am there I can almost reach out and touch it.

The last time I entered the cafe it was bustling with activity. There was only one small table left and I was escorted there by the hostess. I'm not one for dining out alone very often but I prefer to be alone in this particular place. That day I felt both energized and serene as I was overcome with the desire to be very quiet indeed...to just close my eyes and listen to the sounds of life around me. And this is what I heard....

Sounds of Salal
- the scraping of chairs against the hardwood floors
- murmuring, talking and laughter
- the ticking of the register as the keys were pressed
- the front door squeaking as patrons came and left
- thank you's and goodbye's
- plates touching plates as they made their descent into the bus trays
- the latch being closed on the bathroom door
- more coffee ma'am?
- the clanking of spoons against glass
- the ever present call of the seagulls outside the entrance
- the relaxed tone of the voices of the tourists
- water being sprayed against pots and pans in the kitchen
- and my breathing as I seemingly melted into these sounds of life, taking it all in, expressing my gratitude for all that God had created and blessed me with in that particular moment.....

Joseph Campbell says it best - "Your sacred space is where you find yourself again and again".......Thank you Lord, for all of our Sacred Spaces, wherever we may find them....

4 comments:

Rebecca said...

waking up at 5:00 a.m. in the morning with the kids still asleep - sitting in my chair and reading my devotion with no radio on, no tv on and silence.

Sigrid said...

How lovely!!!

Brad said...

Wow, Roberta, that's beautiful. Joseph Campbell didn't say it best, you did! Sandy once gave me the present of attendance at a travel writing seminar, and the instructor told us to do just what you did - absorb, in quiet contemplation, the sights, sounds, and smells of a place. One of my spiritual, quiet places in the same sense is the Courtyard Cafe (former Bread and Roses) in PT, but that's largely because I like both the setting and the owner and staff. We were discussing during the worship committee meeting yesterday that some folks are less than happy with, e.g., kids in church or with "different" prayers of the people because worship at St. Paul's is their quiet time to contemplate and listen to God. I understand and sympathize, but for me the excitement of familiar things mixed with new things and kids learning slowly about God's house are part of a different sort of worship than when I'm alone at the Courtyard or on the coast looking at the Pacific from under a big old tree. Jesus, that homeless, radical proponent of unconditional love, often withdrew for quiet and just as often was in the middle of a ruckus! I got a kick out of a Baptist friend insisting that the wedding Jesus attended was a nice, quiet affair where our Lord turned water into grape juice! Keep sharing your own words with us whenever you can!
Love, Brad

paula said...

Your sacred places thought today was very interesting. I don't know that I have ever had a sacred place. However I have had many sacred moments with 'people'. I so appreciate the moment I shared with you today. thank you