Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Suddenly Tea is Solace and Story

Te de Carpi

I sat outside every day for a year. Most days, I brought nothing with me but a cup of tea. The tea was a way to measure my time. It was something to sort of do, while I sat and watched the trees.

Though I carried my drink to the same spot each day, I didn't know green tea from red from black, except in obvious ways. Imagine. For a whole year I ignored what was in my hands.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with that. I was there to enjoy the breeze, the zebra wasps, the crimson helicopter insects. I hadn't yet thought of considering my tea.

Really, it was not just the year outdoors that I ignored what was in my hands. Tea has been my companion for a good long while. My mother gave me the ritual of tea when I was a child, and I have carried it into adulthood.

But suddenly I am looking at this drink I hold daily, this companion I have steeped from bags and loose leaves, in pots and cups. I am reading about the history of tea, its chemical properties, its rich cultural and literary connections. I am even writing poetry (and next week you'll see a new story with tea at its heart).

Where will my new attention to tea take me? I suspect that doesn't matter. For now, it is taking me right here, to my own cup and the stories it holds.


Solace is me, opening
pages, white leaves that whisper
the secrets, the stories of tea.


This post is offered as part of One Shot Wednesday and HighCallingBlogs' Random Acts of Poetry.

Creme Earl Grey Tea photo by L.L. Barkat.

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Anonymous Ann Kroeker said...

I love a good cup of black tea.

But my sister-in-law introduced me to Moroccan mint and African rooibos.

Enjoy the journey.

Enjoy the tea.

9:13 PM  
Anonymous Lyla Lindquist said...

I'm watching your tea pilgrimage with more than a little interest. Any relationship I might ever have had with the drink was broken as a teenager. After having several teeth pulled, I slept with a tea bag in my mouth at my dad's urging. (On account of its clotting qualities.)

I didn't swallow for days. :)

On the upside, given my only beverage choices while living in South America were tea and espresso, I instead grew a wonderful relationship with the bean which still makes me very happy today.

9:27 PM  
Anonymous amanda said...

i love the idea of sitting everyday in the same spot, "measuring time" with a cup of tea or even coffee. beautifully written post!

9:35 PM  
Anonymous Erin said...

I've been reading a great book about the history of tea:

For All the Tea in China: How England Stole the World’s Favorite Drink and Changed History by Sarah Rose

If you haven't read it, I highly recommend it! Fascinating look at culture and tea production.

9:53 PM  
Blogger Desert Rose said...

From a tea and coffee lover,this was so lovely! tea cups always brings someone close to my mind..:))thank you for sharing with one shot :)

10:40 PM  
Blogger dustus said...

Wow, that was an excellent post. Wasn't expecting a poem at the end after becoming absorbed in the experience. I sit outside and enjoy a cup of coffee when I can, and I suspect I'll recall your poem when I do next time. Mindful lines and advice. thanks. Happy One Shot!

11:04 PM  
Blogger signed...bkm said...

Opening whispers and tea....subtle and beautiful...bkm

11:23 PM  
Blogger TALON said...

Of course I was sipping my tea (black) as I read this :) I'm a fan of rooibos, too. I love tea (blame my English Mom) and I really loved this poem. I'll enjoy reading about your tea discoveries. Thank you.

11:28 PM  
Blogger moondustwriter said...

There is that comfort. The same cup, the same chair,thoughts get to meander about as a result. A cup of tea and memories a great place to start a poem

Thanks for coming my dear to One Shot

Moon hugs

12:17 AM  
Blogger sarah said...

you inspire me so simply, so completely, with the thoughts behind your words ... thank you.

3:23 AM  
Blogger Louise Gallagher said...

I can feel the warmth of the cup, smell the aroma, the breeze, hear the insects.

Thanks for transporting me along!

8:36 AM  
Anonymous Sandra Heska King said...

I love tea.

Here (she says shyly) is a solace poem.


9:10 AM  
Blogger Brian Miller said...

smiles. i am glad you shared the back story to this it enriches it all the more...something too to remember your mother that gave you this companion as well... i like a good spot of tea on accasion as well. enjoy your journey into tea. happy one shot!

10:14 AM  
Blogger Kath said...

Hi L.L.,
I like the expectancy of your poem.

Here is my link for the solace RAP

Cheers (tea mugs clink)

10:29 AM  
Blogger SimplyDarlene said...

How do you paint such an image with only a few poetic words? I have much to learn.

Here is my hunk of solace sans the tea.



11:28 AM  
Blogger Bubba said...

Tea and haiku definitely go together!

(I like Lapsang Souchong, among others)

1:14 PM  
Blogger Beachanny said...

Trees and teas..anecdotal poem to haiku..juxtaposition of observation..movement of time from now to then to sometime soon..like shadows moving as a day progresses and I think of Monet and know art. Beautiful poem. Thank you.

4:04 PM  
Blogger Steve Isaak said...

Stunning stuff, with (the inherent potential of) deeper meaning between the simply stated lines.

Thanks for the smile!

4:24 PM  
Blogger PattiKen said...

Sitting in the same spot every day, taking in the world, measuring time with a cup of tea sounds like a wonderful idea. And oddly, before you even got to the discovery of the tea in your cup as inspiration, I could smell it. Now that's good writing.

5:02 PM  
Anonymous Teresa said...

Wonderful and interesting. It's amazing how something so simple and everyday can lead you on such an interesting journey.

10:26 PM  
Blogger Mama K said...


I took up your challenge to write something about solace. It was a challenge! But fun to do something different than usual. thanks. the tea picture is peaceful, like tea should be. I enjoy your writing, as well.

11:35 PM  
Blogger Marshy said...

aaar tea..best drink of the day..i am a teaholic..must drink 20 plus cups a day..yep..its my one vice after i kicked smoking..you are so right though..i love to take myself off to the favourite spot in my garden, always with a cuppa in hand, but we never stop to think about that drink....an excellent piece.cheers pete

7:21 AM  

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