Thursday, September 20, 2012

Cafe de la Fin du Monde Feeds the Soul On and Off the Playa

Sometimes all you need is a good cup of coffee in the morning with a good friend to put your life into perspective. Last weekend I landed back at home after a nomadic summer that produced many strains of deepening within me. One of the more memorable things that happened within my psyche was the realization of those who were in my life who truly loved me, those who were only in my life when I made the effort, and those who were in my life to somehow suck off of me. It’s amazing what occurs when you become uprooted and your only sense of feeling grounded comes from deep within your soul; and how that small sense of independence fortifies you for the truths you learn to the point where you can’t imagine living anything but truth going forward.

Upon returning home I was invited over to my friend Puma’s Den for a cup of coffee and to catch up at the tail end of both our summers. He had just returned from Burning Man where he had volunteered to fund, construct and manage Café de la Fin du Monde: a café serving free coffee to the Burners out on the Playa day in and out for ten full days. 

Anyone who has ever been to Burning Man knows that there is a huge difference between having a service camp and just going as a regular. It takes a special person to decide to devote their time to offering up free goods that benefit the other campers’ overall experience under the sweltering sun and blinding dust, requiring thankless, selfless and payless work. Having been there myself, I know that I have a special appreciation for these people who will suddenly appear on a street corner at midnight to offer up a fresh grilled cheese sandwich after you’ve been living on the tail end of your beef jerky rations for two days in a row; or the chorizo burritos on the second to the last morning that you wait behind 100 other people for, hoping the supplies don’t run out before you get up there, hungry for the taste of anything other than the metallic bottom of your thermos that has been emptied of fruit juice or whiskey for 24 hours, reducing you to your last gallon of water.

The people who run and volunteer at these camps are special and always surprise you with a smile as they hand you whatever edible they have to share. My friend Puma fits that bill and this year, Café de la Fin du Monde, which was a part of the French Quarter Camp and sat front and center right on the busiest corner of the Playa, delivered over 500 cups a day from sunrise to sunset. Anyone who brought his or her own cup over was treated with a freshly ground, dark roasted bean brew.

It was good to be served a few cups of this coffee and to learn about his experiences there, the way he had the most fun while meeting all the people who walked up to his counter daily from all over the world, and how grateful everyone was just to get this one, simple thing in life.

As I was leaving he gifted me with a brand new French Press. His third eye must have been working because I had just jotted the words French Press down on my list of things to buy as I moved in to my space again.

I write all of this now on my comfy couch, resettled into my space with basic necessities unpacked as Bravo continues to run teasers about this season’s Housewives of New York shows. I hear these girls, all of the age to be more mature than what they express, fighting, backstabbing, obsessing over clothes and plastic surgery and staying young and getting money and I laugh at the thought of any of them having any kind of authentic experience in life. I think of the things I have learned over this summer while on the road and the true colors I was shown in my world of close friends and how I have embarked on the conscious weeding of unconscious people from my circle.

Thank you Café de la Fin du Monde for further fortifying my soul.

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