Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Artifacts of life – my favorite coffee cup

I found the cup under the sink in my classroom. All sorts of junk had been left behind from the teachers who previously occupied this space. I put the cup up on the counter, assuming someone would come by to claim it. After a few weeks, I put it back under the sink, still believing that no one would leave it behind, that they would come back and claim this lovely gift.

For gift it was; must have been. The perfect size: not too big that your coffee would get cold before you drank to the bottom; not too small that you were constantly revisiting the pot.  The bottom is wide enough so you don’t worry about it toppling unbalanced each time you put it down. The brim is just the right thickness to avoid unsightly dribbles down your chin when you take a quick gulp. I hate those mugs that are so think all you taste is ceramic on your tongue.

Not a mass-produced Disney souvenir, but hand-made in Poland, according to the stamp on the bottom. Brush marks show on the blue painted handle. The pattern around the outside is unevenly stamped. The blue reminds me of the English imitation Canton China we had at every New England museum I’ve ever worked with. The green is mossy in artful contrast.

When I left that school, I packed the mug with my things.

Drinking coffee from this mug on my porch or at the kitchen table makes me happy. Not deliriously, laugh out loud happy, but short sigh, slight smile, ready to face the day happy. Coffee tastes better. Words come easier. Laundry is less burdensome.

There is a danger to placing too much value on the stuff of our lives. There are a few things, though, that are brought to us to add joy or peace or to bring energy. I’m grateful to the forgetful teacher who left such a treasure behind. I like to think that she wasn’t actually forgetful at all but consciously bestowed a gift to an unknown soul who was continuing the work she had started.

And, I am grateful to this coffee mug, for starting my day off well. 

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