Roses and Skaters

Sales of El Boton Natural have been good since the story in Wine Spectator. The magazine isn't yet on the newsstands, but subscribers are receiving the issue now. We have a few new coffees on the way, which I'm excited about. I'm very close to releasing another Ninety Plus coffee called Nekisse. It's a natural Ethiopian, and every drop of it I've tasted has been as clean and sweet and strawberry shortcake as any coffee I've ever put in my mouth. Super interesting comparisons will happen soon too, when we receive a small lot of washed El Boton from the exact same trees and same harvest day as the natural that will accompany it. Outstanding.

Outside my apartment is a pink rose bush. It's quite large and produces tens of flowers on any given day. I have been snipping two or three and putting them in a small vase on the table next to my big leather chair- a table with carved elephant heads as its base. The first time I walked into my former girlfriend's apartment, it was the first thing that caught my eye. I loved it, but it was out of place in her apartment, shoved into the corner. She let it go in the end and it fits perfectly in my apartment. I'm glad she let me have it. Anyway, a couple nights ago I was sitting in my big leather chair, feet up on the ottoman, reading William Vollman's ATLAS, when suddenly a petal fell off one of the flowers. It fell off abruptly, as if the petal were a heavy kettle in the farmer's walk-portion of the strongest man competition and the flower all at once gave up and threw the petal onto the table with a thud. I'm sure it was relative to the stillness in the room, but it was also relatively dramatic.

Today I noticed new flowers blooming on the bush and, as usual (probably just because of the saying), I stopped to smell them. I'm not sure why I do because clearly these are a rare breed of rose that has no scent. Up the stairs into my apartment. Make sure Sterling doesn't go out. Let Stripey come in to play with Sterling for a bit. And I noticed the roses on my elephant table had seen better days. So I picked the trio up to toss them into the receptacle and instantly every petal fell quickly to the floor. Oh what a rose petal mess I made. Weird they could fall as spilled macaroni on my living room hardwoods.

My front porch, which Mr. Sterling loves to sleep in, faces the slow part of the Arkansas River. The pretty part. The part with the trees and water and not as many cars as joggers and cyclists. And skaters. Last week I sat here on my porch, where I sit now, watching a band of skaters skritching down hills and around sharp curves, tightly avoiding nervous drivers. Then they lined up and took turns practicing kick flips and various other tricks. One dude's girlfriend showed up with an 18-inch high rail and they began practicing their grinds. I was impressed with their overall skill and balance. But it amused me to watch them fall. Some more than others, of course. Crash. Roll. Slide. On the pavement. Get up. Do it again. And again. And again. I was happy to see so many youngsters outside being active. And my perspective toward skaters has changed over time. I once saw them as punk rebellious kids. And now I see them as peers. But these guys slapped the pavement like a rose petal on a hardwood floor. Then the ice cream truck pulled up with its simple song and they all ran and got in and it drove off.

The idea of falling is painful. But clearly there are different classifications. The skaters know they will fall and if they don't try something and fall, they'll never figure out how to do it without falling. The rose seems to have fallen on its sword.

I hope the DoubleShot is more like a skater than a rose.