Thursday, November 19, 2009


Today I am thankful for tea.

Tea goes beyond just tea.  It embodies a ritual, deliberating slowing down life. Each moment is to be savored: hands wrapped round a warm mug; the first sip, and each one thereafter; the heady scent of a good brew; the whisper of steam against your cheeks as you raise the cup to your lips; even the simple pleasure of the cup itself, so practical in its construction, so pleasing in its form.

The ritual of tea extends beyond the tea itself, of course.  If it didn't, what's the point?  One of the things I always do whenever I go home to visit is sit down to a cup of tea at my grandmother's. Usually my mother and cousin Rosie are there, too.  We sit round the table and catch up after months of separation.  Cups clink; we laugh; napkins rustle as we nibble on sweets.  We share stories and listen in our turn, for tea loosens the tongue, unstops the ear. 

It's a ritual that I happily crash everytime I go home to visit.

"The first cup moistens
my lips and throat.
The second shatters
my loneliness.
The third causes the wrongs
of life to fade gently
from my recollection.
The fourth purifies my soul.
The fifth lifts me
to the realms
of the unwinking gods."

Chinese Mystic Tang Dynasty

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