Hidden Coffee Shops and Hidden Journals

I’m writing this in my new favorite cafe/bar, a hidden gem that I’ve walked past countless times and never thought about coming into. The decor is rustic and well loved, with stone walls and cracks in the cement where notes have been left by patrons before. Overhead, wooden beams with cracks and splinters keep the inside cool and dark.

I came in and ordered my signature – a banana and strawberry smoothie with soy milk, and made my way to a table drenched in sunlight. The last rays of autumn are pushing through the panes of glass.

As I settle in, rumpled pages and a pen caught my eye. Maybe it’s the writer in me, or just natural curiosity, but journals have a magnetic pull to me. Nestled in a hole in a wooden beam, I found the hidden journal.

Flipping through the pages, words and works of art drawn entirely in blue ball-point pen wash over me. Quotes are scribbled in, and personal stories dot the pages of the journal. People write comments next to particularly sad stories. Comments of hope and support, found in the pages of a communal journal, the writer someone they may never know. It reminds me that we each carry so much inside of us, everyday. We compartmentalize and hide it, and so often disguise it from the curious  and prying eyes of those around us. There is something so beautiful in that hidden strength.

I felt more grounded than I had in months, flipping through this mystical journal – I felt a connection, a common thread linking me to all the people who had sat in this seat in the sun and found their own happiness and inspiration in the pages of this journal.

I like to imagine this joy and excitement these creatives, writers, artists and everyone in-between felt when they found the journal poking out from its hidden enclave. It’s addicting, the rush of creativity and love. I scribbled and entry, and put the journal back in its home for the next person to find.

This is a simple happiness. Finding something that sets fire to your soul and makes you want to create, to share, and to explore. This is a happiness found when you stop into that coffee shop you’d never heard off, and sit in a seat you normally wouldn’t, and experience life in a whole new way.

Being present, in this moment; listening to snippets of conversation, punctuated by the gentle clink of spoons on ceramic coffee mugs. Writing, reading and imagining in this hidden cafe in the heart of downtown.

These are the simple things that connect us to ourselves, and the thousands of people we may never meet.



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