Tea in a Quandary

Tea at home, for two

Tea at home, for two {photo by Trixie}

Getting to the far side of a quandary is something each of us needs to do from time to time. It seems that Life tosses sticky challenges our way no matter how carefully we plan, no matter how much we propitiate the Gods. Stuff Happens, so one of the sayings goes — and indeed it does Happen, with maddening regularity.

What do you do when you are in a quandary? Do you scale steep hills, or knit a sock, or race cars, or weed your garden, or lose yourself in a book for a few hours? Dustin admits to a desire for weightlifting when he is in a mental pickle — chewing on a philosophical conundrum — I should mention that we have no weights, so he usually goes antiquing instead. The search for a beautiful teacup can often clear the mind marvelously, he assures me (and our growing collection attests to this, for he returns from these sojourns in good humor, nearly always, and with a handsome teacup or three). And then, without fail, we share tea.

If our well-chosen exertions cannot dislodge discontent, pausing for tea with an empathetic friend, at least, brightens the moment and gives us a chance to Talk Things Through. Tea & Empathy, yes…

My frequent source of quandaries is a fear of Letting People Down. I hem and haw, moan and wail, until my insides are knotted and my mouth feels like a dry cotton ball when I believe that I have disappointed, or am about to disappoint, another person. I once fell into a Letting People Down quandary and stayed there for a week… this, of course, was during one of Dustin’s travels abroad when he was still a full-time Tea Maven, in the years before WiFi and Skype and text messaging; there wasn’t even a phone to call him on. So, no reassurance, no quandary-busting teatime friend. I cannot recommend this as a lifestyle choice. Fortunately at the end of that particular week, Dustin returned, we had a bang-up tea feast, I talked, he listened, and Things Got Better in a jiffy.

It’s not just the talking, though talking through a problem is essential — sometimes just saying your fears aloud can shrink them to a manageable size (the verbal equivalent of shining a light under the bed when, as a young’un, you feared there were creatures hiding there) — it’s also the tea itself, whether true Camellia sinensis tea or an herbal tisane, that sends signals to the brain that say Be of good cheer, All will soon be better, We can get through this you’ll see. Often after a few cups (or glasses, if we are drinking a chilled bevvie) we are ready to eat something, too — this is a sign that the good effect has begun, that we are, indeed, on the way out of the quandary. Marvelous, is tea.

I hope that each of you has one, or (better!) more than one, tea friend who appreciates the benefits of sitting quietly with cups or glasses between you, talking, listening, drinking a little, eating a little… so very much good appears, so many problems can be solved, in that magical space between people of compatible minds who drink tea.

If you would like to share any of your quandary-busting remedies, I will be grateful if you share them in a Comment below.
Thank you.
Wishing you a week lacking in quandaries but filled with good tea,
xo, Trix

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Season’s Turning

Trixie & Dustin's tea table {photo by Trixie}

Trixie & Dustin’s tea table {photo by Trixie}

Can you feel it? The weather is sending clear signals of change — Indian Summer in California; snow in Alberta, Canada; floods in Arizona; everything in between everywhere else… Summer is waning, Autumn approaches — in the Southern Hemisphere, of course, it is t’other way ’round as Winter morphs into Spring. Seasons change, and thank Providence for tea.

Tea is so magnificent, so wholly obliging and accommodating, that no matter the weather you can make a refreshing vessel of tea that will cool, warm, settle, or energize you (unless every manner of tea-making has been obliterated by the weather itself, in which case… we are so very sorry). Every hour of every day, you can have tea in a different way, a different vessel, with different companions, in different surroundings (internal or external surroundings — even if bed-bound one can travel inside the mind, huzzah). We have not found an end, nor even a diminution, to the ways in which we can enjoy tea. What a cheering thought!

Dustin and I never tire of Solo Tea — we spend so much time together these days that the occasional solitary teatime remains novel and intriguing — but something magical happens when we drink tea together… even Dustin’s sizable vocab doesn’t contain a word that accurately describes the wonderful feeling that inevitably envelops Tea Together. I can almost see it, almost touch it; but no, it ultimately eludes my grasp and vision. No matter! We are sharing tea and the world with its woes can disappear, we wouldn’t notice for a while. Do you know this feeling?

A full meal shared with a friend is like this, too, of course, but somehow when we sit together in the closer circle of our tea table, rubbing elbows while reaching for a piece of cake or when filling each other’s cups, the feeling of camaraderie is magnified, almost in inverse proportion to the size of our setup. After a cup or two, when the vital life force in tea courses through our veins, the Camaraderie Quotient can get so high that gleeful mayhem sometimes ensues — all good fun, nothing untoward… in those moments we often long for a neighbor to stroll by so that we can pour another cup and hand a plate full of Yums to someone we love. Do you know this feeling?

When in the full cocoon of the vital life force of tea, conversations of depth and magnitude begin as if on cue, as if by stage direction. The high Camaraderie Quotient ensures that we can discuss even distinctly differing viewpoints with equanimity and bonhomie. We often comment that tea needs to be shared by diplomats and negotiators, to better smooth the world’s wrinkles and woes. Do you know this feeling?

I bet that you do. Wishing you some fabulous, warming, cooling, calming, invigorating Together Teas in the weeks ahead,
xo, Trixie

Learning Curve {as with tea, so with weblogs}

NaLikoTea

Na Liko Tea, Summer 2014 {photo by Trixie}

Shall I ever retrieve the first two posts, which now seem to have vanished into thin (or thick) air? Time will tell. In the meanwhile, there is Tea. Thank goodness for tea — soother of spirits, slaker of thirsts, and impetus for the creation of teaware. I love a good cup of tea, no matter the vessel (unless of course the vessel leaks, in which case fuggeddaboudit because the tea will leak out before I can taste it), but a lovely vessel, well… that just makes everything more lovely.

In the picture here you can see my first tasting experiment of a beautiful über-micro-processed tea from Hawai’i. At the time I took this picture I was, admittedly, a little tea-drunk {official term!}, filled to the exquisite brim with the Vital Life Force that is found in lovingly-made fresh tea. This particular lovingly-made tea is from Na Liko Tea of Kawai, Hawai’i, whose founder, farmer, and finished-tea-crafter Liam Ball puts every bit of Aloha and soul into his young enterprise. In future posts I shall show & tell you more about Liam and his teas; for today, as I untangle the interweb I have just made, let it suffice to say that this fellow is one of our brightest hopes for the future of US-grown tea.

Liam says he is only now learning how to do things, yet from my first tastings of two of his teas it seems to me he is quite assuredly in the groove already. I mention this because today I feel as if I am a mere babe in the cyberwoods, but hopefully soon we will all think that I know what I am doing. Evidently we are all, as the Poet may have said at some time, on the path together.

It is an honor to be path-ing here with you. Please stay tuned…
With tea-stained love,
xo Trixie 

postscript: I found the August posts!! yay. Time for tea! ~ t.