Do I Dare Disturb the Universe & Other Messages from Coffee Shops

I appreciate a nudge from the universe every so often. This being Asheville, it doesn’t give up if you don’t notice the first time.

One day last week, Zoë and I were chatting over cups of coffee & chai at the local coffee shop, when I noticed a young girl working intently at her laptop on a nearby former piece of tree.

There were words written on her arm, but only a few peeked out from under her sleeve, teasing me with this unfinished thought…

Do I dare disturb…

was her name Jay? ask zoë

 

“Mum, don’t,” said Zoë, knowing what was about to happen.

“I won’t bother her,” I promised, “unless she looks up.”

Just in case, I had my camera ready.

“Do I dare disturb the universe,” the girl with the long ginger hair told me moments later, when I did actually dare to disturb her – ignoring the dark clouds of disapproval on my daughter’s face.

“It’s a quote from T S Eliot.”

She told me these words have special meaning for her and for how she’s charting out the rest of her life – once she completes her Masters Degree in writing from a nearby university.

Unable to shake the quote from my head, I looked it up and found the words in a line from the “Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.”

Let us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky…
And indeed there will be time
To wonder, “Do I dare?” and, “Do I dare?”
Do I dare
Disturb the universe?
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This morning, I read the rest of the poem, startled to remember seeing the last words somewhere before…
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.
For I have known them all already, known them all:
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons,
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons…
***

 

Oddly enough, I had seen those words on another person in another coffee shop, two and a half years ago in New Orleans.

 

i have measured out my life in coffee spoons

 

Two like minds in two different coffee shops? Sure, of course.

But also a persistent nudge, or reminder, from the universe to get going with whatever it is I will dare to disturb.

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Author: kristin fellows

Kristin Fellows is a street photographer & travel writer, based in Asheville, North Carolina. Kristin’s adventures in the past several years have taken her to Iceland to hike volcanoes and photograph puffins; to Barcelona, Mexico, Addis Ababa, and New Orleans for street photography; and most recently, to Athens for a big fat Greek wedding, and to Helsinki to get beaten with frozen birch branches in its oldest public sauna. She is also a documentary film consultant and has worked on more than 200 hours of public television films & productions. Her photograph, “Skywalker,” was chosen as a National Geographic Photo of the Day in 2015. Kristin is working on her first book, The Red Moon Letters – a non-fiction, dual-narrative thriller set in Ethiopia during the time of the Haile Selassie. Educated in both London and the US, Kristin also has a cherished diploma from the Icelandic Elf School (Álfaskólinn.) Kristin is the niece of the late New York Times foreign correspondent, Lawrence Fellows. Follow Kristin on Instagram @ kristinfellowsphotography

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