Welcome to where the seeds of dreams are planted--where one can sip from the charmed chalice of life & meet interesting folk through (hopefully) intelligent conversation.

One never knows nor can expect who will sail into the fray--what we do know is that no soul here is perfect no matter how we try. So let us celebrate & raise our mugs to the idiosyncratic nature of life--to the Kramer's & Norm's of the world, the Roseanne's & Allan Poe's. Some old, some lost, some tortured, some blessed, all souls sharing a drink at the same time in the same place. The ensuing tales are authentic with names trending towards monikers. The flag waving on our doorstep means we're open, so come perk your curiosity in Le Harbor Bungalow Cafe.

Bonjour! Mesherfin! Hasta la vista! Your barista.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Visiting the Oracle

“So Shelly, you won’t be able to reach me for a few days,” said the barista as he placed a bagel breakfast sandwich on the Panini press.  “I’m going back to Shenandoah.”

Change was in the air.  Summer slowly was turning into autumn.  Our barista had hired a new barista who picked up one of his shifts at the café this week.  The Dolphin had a new, safe parking spot with a newer pearly white rear door.  As the events unfolded, the decision made itself.

“Cool! Who you going with?” Shelly asked. 

It was a busy morning at le café: three employees behind the bar and patrons filled the four tables against the wall opposite the coffee bar.  These patrons were eating, waiting to eat while sipping their coffee or behind a laptop computer trying hard not to be distracted by the conversation about to take place. 


“Really?  Do you want one of my dogs?  Do you have a gun?”

“No, no…I’ve done this before. I’ll be fine.”

“Are you sure? How will you protect yourself?”

“I have a hunting knife, some pepper spray…oh, and my redwood staff.”

“Isn’t that where you saw three bears?” Monroe interjected as she pulled shots of espresso.


“You should take my gun,” Shelly pleaded.

“This is the second time I heard you try to pawn off that gun,” said a voice from behind a laptop.

“I’m not taking it,” said the barista. “Bears like me. I’m one of them.”

“What will you do there?” asked the patron who ordered the bacon, egg and cheese bagel—which now rests on his plate, cheese melted in front of him.  The cheese was smoked Gouda—a favorite of both Shelly and the barista.

“Read, write, hike…pick the guitar…speak with the oracle.”

“That means smoke a lot of pot,” Shelly said as she motioned her fingers to her mouth as if she were inhaling a joint.

“No, no,” said the barista. “I have prepared some questions for her.  I will look for her under the waterfall where I plan to swim.”

“Are you shittin’ me,” the patron asked.

“Yeah,” the barista said.  Although he really wasn’t.


Who has a couch in their car, but not in their apartment? The barista, of course. He pondered this idea as he lay stretched on the Dolphin’s foldout couch in Shenandoah the next morning, a stone’s throw from the Appalachian Trail.  The air was at least ten degrees cooler in the mountains than the city.  A gentle breeze penetrated the camper and was a treat for him to breathe in deeply.  As his seven spice chai tea steamed before him (nine spices if honey and whiskey are to be counted), the barista picked up his acoustic bass guitar and played the following set of original songs:

Music Spell
Cupid Blues
Purgin’ the Blues
Burlesque Pirate
Grass-Stained Heart
Stinky Joe

Three little birds jumped and chirped outside the Dolphin’s screen door as he finished playing and singing.  A joyful smile crossed the barista’s unshaven face.

Mid-morning he arrived at the park ranger station to look for maps and acquire a stamp for his national parks passport. He bellied up to the counter.

“I’m looking for a nice, quiet swimming hole,” the barista said.

“Well, we don’t call them swimming holes,” the thick-moustached ranger said. “But there are places to get your feet wet.”  His last sentence might as well been accompanied with a wink.

The barista was in luck.

The ranger highlighted a circular hiking route on the barista’s map, and then marked an X in at least six spots along the way for the barista to cool off in the mountain water.  

Near one of them may be the oracle, he thought. 


The heat of the sun warmed the cool mountain air.  Each step along the trail warmed the barista from the inside, forcing a mild sweat.  In his backpack was a water bottle, at least three different granola bars, a pita loaded with hummus, tomato and fresh basil, a hand towel, a long sleeve shirt, a notebook, pen, lighter, pepper spray and homemade popcorn.  He could not find his hunting knife, but carried his redwood staff as a cane.  If his mountain boots and beach shorts clashed, it could be argued that his blue bandana and sporty shades tied his attire back together. He practiced pranayama yoga breathing with each step: Inhale, pause…inhale, pause…inhale, pause…exhaaaaaaaaaaaaaaale.

Back in the Dolphin laid two books the barista was reading at the time: There is a River: A Biography of Edgar Cayce and Visions and Prophecies, from the Time-Life volume Mysteries of the Unknown. Ideas of a sixth sense fascinate the barista.  For the past decade he held a preference for working in, rather than working out.  Does he hold the potential to travel through time in his dreams, as Edgar Cayce did? 

The barista wondered as he wandered.  After two or three miles along the circuit hike, the barista noticed a stream paralleled the trail. It flowed in the same direction he walked—southeast at the time. Small pools accumulated water, but not nearly enough to swim. He stopped, sat on a log and watched the water. He wiped his forehead with his towel. He drank some water from his bottle. He snacked on the pita and polished the meal off with some popcorn.  He then stretched and coaxed his body off the log with his redwood staff and began to walk again. 

One of the moustached forest ranger’s X’s was about to mark the spot: Rose Hill Falls.  The barista came upon the falls from the top.  The stream cascaded down about ten or fifteen feet into a pool of water nearly six feet deep and twenty in circumference. The trail started down into the gorge, but about halfway from the water it returned back up. The barista continued down the slope. When he reached the bank he rock-hopped between the pool and a second, smaller cascade. He set his pack on a boulder on the opposite bank from which he came and took a deep breath.

Like much of Shenandoah, Rose Hill Falls was calendar-worthy. The barista surveyed the scene. Splashing water dominated the soundscape.  With few hikers on the trail, peace and privacy prevailed. The sun peaked through the trees, though most of the scene was shaded. He found a pebble and tossed it into what he hoped was the deepest part of the pool. It slowly fell far enough to where the barista deemed it safe. Small, finger-length fish moved about. No sight of snakes or other unwanted creatures in the pool. He temporarily relieved his boots, bandana, sunglasses and shirt of their duties and placed them by his bag on the boulder.  Squatting on a rock next to the pool the barista slipped into the water feet first.

So determined the barista was to soak in the mountain water, he never thought to check the temperature with his fingers, or feet.  An intense chill shot up his spine and across his scalp as he submerged completely. The waterfall was muffled. Adrenaline rushed through his veins.  His gasped as he returned to the water’s surface.

“Woo!!! That’s friggin’ co-old.”

The barista stood in the pool and the water reached just under his arms. He kicked his feet up and began to float as his breath slowed to a more relaxed pace. The jolt connected him with the mountain. He was enveloped and remained in the pool undisturbed for about ten minutes.

Climbing out of the pool, the barista sat on the sun-soaked boulder and dried his face with his towel. He could feel the cells in his body vibrate from the effects of the frigid water. His mind was clear, nearly free of thought. That was until he thought about the oracle.

The barista knew a traditional oracle is a person who can verbally answer questions posed in a “yes-no” manner. He also knew that he was the only person at Rose Hill Falls at that moment. What he didn’t know was if any souls happen to be floating about and if they could play the role of an oracle. Sitting with his legs crossed and his eyes closed he began to throw out questions to the universe.

Was it a good idea to come here?


Am I on the right path?


Should I continue to dream of owning a cabin in the woods?


Should I act on that dream soon?


A hesitation in the last answer gave the barista a reason to pause. He tried his best to clear his mind and pose the next question that popped in his head.

Should I have stayed with the cinnamon girl?


Am I meant to have a womanly companion?


Is it someone I have already met?

Silence. The barista wondered if his allotted number of questions were up.

Am I to have a child?

More silence. The barista asked one final question before resting.

Did the thief who broke into the Dolphin last month rip off my hunting knife?



The third sunrise gave the barista notice that his time in Shenandoah was nearly up. He begrudgingly returned power to his reception-less mobile phone to acquire the knowledge of time. In Visions and Prophecies the barista read:

Albert Einstein showed that past, present and future need have no fixed status. In theory, at least, it is possible to perceive them in varying order—future before present, for instance (p. 9).

He brewed some chai tea for the road, tightly secured the items in his camper, rolled down the windows and blazed down Skyline Drive.

The trip to the mountains refreshed the barista, but he certainly was not ready to leave. But le café beckoned. Routine beckoned. He took comfort in the thought that his routine was less routine than the average person’s routine, without trying to prove it.

Returning to his couch-less apartment less than an hour before his afternoon shift he packed his bag for work. He dug up a tape measure so he and Shelly could rearrange the machines behind le café bar. While digging through his toolbox the barista was taken aback. Staring him in the face was his lost hunting knife.


  1. Yo brother! Went to the beach last week with V. Tower 2, 'teas a market day, V has aMMA class @ OB surf & skate, we go every Wed., catch up to our Rusky sculpture @ pizza pub, get in the water, V 8 y/o!, saw Cliffy...

  2. Oh, how I miss the OB!! I owe you a phone call, haas. I could use one of those Del Monte dips & Del Mar Ave sunsets about now!