Endings & Beginnings

Nov 10, 2020

Photograph by Filip Kominik

Big events, small events, world events, private ones — finding blessings and opportunities amongst change and challenge

We all know that saying about how when one door closes…another one opens. It’s just so true — even though we have to be pulled through the doorway kicking and screaming. Ha! 

So here we find ourselves in the midst of an ever-changing pandemic and a (finally) settled U.S. Presidential election. It was also my birthday week! Lots going on, but at least there was cake. 

While change complicates everything, it also provides hidden blessings. And my birthday revealed some of those gifts. 

I’ve experienced a great deal of upheaval the past months. I don’t share that to whine or complain. I share it because I know I’m not alone. Let’s just say it’s come in many flavors for each of us. 

It certainly has been tricky keeping the café afloat during Covid. There have been so many moving pieces and parts, protocols and procedures…not to mention fears. It feels like things have changed a thousand times and back again since this all really started in March. Let’s just say March feels like a million years ago!

We’ve all had to navigate a lot — new ways of working, interacting, eating, exercising, being. I’m sure you’ve come up against a few of your own roadblocks too. But here’s the good news: through all of this uncertainty, through each of these ups and downs and all-arounds…I fell in love with my restaurant all over again. It’s true! And you can too. 

Sure, there were days I wanted to curl up under the covers at home and hide away — days filled with ‘problems’ — when things didn’t go as planned, food deliveries were wrong, staff that decided not to come back to work, etc. But then there were days when I flipped that perspective instead.

I took a deep breath and here is what I did… 

First off, I reminded myself that a business is like a relationship — and sometimes we have to reconnect to fall in love again. 

Covid had me running in circles, moving in a million directions — forgetting my WHY. Until I had a big realization one afternoon talking to one of my dream team staffers. We were daydreaming and chatting away about the future full of what ifs and whens, but we forgot about our NOW. It actually took my breath away for a moment when I caught myself. I literally felt like I had just insulted my present moment.  

While that may seem a bit silly, it’s actually quite powerful because it is within the present moment that we gather our gifts. So, I looked around and hugged them tight. 

Here in the Hudson Valley we’ve had one of our most glorious fall seasons, full of vibrant foliage and warm temperatures, which has blessedly prolonged our table service in the garden. Each time I stood in the garden and stared up at the glorious mountain before me covered in a blanket of colorful leaves, I was reminded why I love living here. 

Each time I witnessed lines of socially distanced customers outside the garden fence patiently waiting for a table, I breathed in a prayer of thanks. 

Each time I whisked in and out of the kitchen wafting of delicious organic food, I remembered how much I love dishing up ‘real’ food and nourishment. 

And when I rolled up my sleeves and got back into the kitchen assisting the staff, I was transported to my roots with my family’s restaurant growing up. Getting back into my kitchen helped me reconnect in a deeper way to everything. I came in on my days off, reorganized and reimagined. I tinkered about. I baked, cleaned and cooked. Most of all, I remembered that this place was home — our home. And it was important. 

These crazy times have presented us with all kinds of opportunities to see the things right before us in a new way. It’s been a reunion of sorts.

Things rarely stay the same in life, but if we can trust in life’s blessings, we can handle the bumps...and the new doors.

Yes, doors will open and others will close…maybe you will slam a few shut yourself. Just walk through them. Don’t be afraid. Flip the story and allow yourself to remember what you love. And while I’m not permanently in the kitchen, it has been a great reminder to me of how precious this café and this community are to me. Maybe there’s a place in your life calling for your attention too…a little reconnection and nourishing.

So, thank you dear ones from the bottom of my heart for being on this wild ride with me — and for being a part of my remembering the beauty of this present moment and all my WHYS. Now go remember yours!

—Lea Haas, Owner, The Garden Café Woodstock


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