Friday Musings: Sputnik Sweetheart

Friday Musings: Sputnik Sweetheart

I’ve often wondered if there is any emotion that affects us more profoundly than loneliness. I find it very hard to believe that there is. We’ve all been in that place where we feel like there is not a soul in the world who can possibly understand us. We’ve all had those moments where we’ve felt like we were traveling completely alone, in total isolation. And the great irony that we’re all very aware of is that these feelings can occur in the middle of a crowded room and in the midst of a full life, just as easily as they can when we’re actually alone. There is a book by Haruki Murakami, who happens to be my favorite author, called Sputnik Sweetheart, which looks deeply into the subject of loneliness. Murakami sees human beings as satellites, “lonely metal souls in the unimpeded darkness of space, [who] meet, pass each other, and part, never to meet again. No words passing between them. No promises to keep.” Incredibly sad, right? Yes, I would say so.

Yet there are times when we do make deeper connections, where words do pass between us, and where promises are kept. There are shining examples among us of traveling companions who have stayed together for many years, and who’ve managed to keep loneliness at bay rather admirably. Sometimes the gimbal angles match up forever, and other times they don’t, and one of the satellites veers off in a completely new direction, hurtling through space once more in search of a new companion to fill the emptiness. What’s the secret to finding the permanent connection that we all crave so much? I think the answer lies in looking our loneliness square in the eye and facing up to its real source. We tend to blame external circumstances, but loneliness comes from deep inside, and is often a reaction to something that we may need to resolve within ourselves that has left us feeling less than whole. Maybe there’s an inner child that we have to embrace, or a trauma that occurred that made us feel invalidated. Maybe we have an untold story inside us that’s yearning for a voice, as Maya Angelou would suggest, or maybe we’re holding onto a relationship that left us empty rather than filled. In any or all of these cases, we are are going to continue to live our lives within our own orbits, continue to miss the opportunities around us, and continue to feel that isolation deep within our souls until we begin the process of becoming whole. And a process is exactly what it is. There will still be darkness, often the worst of which will be right before we get to where we need to be, but we will feel the possibilities begin to reveal themselves the moment we arrive. But we have to do the work. We cannot ask or expect the universe to bring us more, until we first acknowledge that we are more.

Today’s cocktail reflects delicacy, balance, and yielding more than anything else, because those are often the necessary components involved in figuring out what will bring us back to ourselves. I knew that I wanted the drink to have saké in it because of Murakami’s Japanese heritage, but I needed a gin that would allow that saké to actually have presence. It had to be mild and not overbearing, and so Plymouth was my best choice. Crème de Cassis is such an elegantly flavored liqueur, but one that can quickly become overwhelming if it’s not balanced with enough acidity. The lime juice did the trick here. One of lavender’s meanings is grace, which in this case I’d like to interpret as the blessings of the universe, and lemon balm is known for its ability to soothe heartache and bring deep happiness. We are all seeking our own Sputnik Sweetheart who will calm our hearts and gently help us yield to the possibility of love. As long as we bring wholeness to the table, then the universe will deliver what we seek beyond our wildest expectations. Cheers everyone. Happy Friday!

One last note on the photographs. They are mirror images of one another, which is meant to suggest a common Murakami theme of each person having two sides that need to be merged into one.

Sputnik Sweetheart

2 oz Plymouth gin
2 oz Dewatsuru Sakura Emaki rosé saké
1 oz Crème de Cassis
1 oz fresh lime juice
1 dash DRAM lavender lemon balm bitters
3 oz club soda

Shake everything over ice except the club. Strain into a tall Collins glass over fresh ice. Top with the club and garnish with a lavender sprig. Enjoy!

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