Sunday, September 20, 2009

So, Let Us Drink a Cup of Tea

Sugary by paulamills

I am a newcomer to the world of tea.

Being the daughter of a full-blooded Dane, my DNA is programmed to appreciate coffee. Yet there is an undeniable mystique about tea that made me feel as though I was missing out on one of life's great comforts, and so I have tried green tea, black tea, white tea, and a wide array of herbal teas. Never once did I desire a second cup.

Until PG Tips.

Our military friends, who had been stationed in England, introduced me to this distinctly English tea a couple of years ago and now I keep it in my own cupboard. Somehow, it fits the bill on a rainy afternoon or a chilly fall evening. It will never replace coffee but it has a mystique and an appeal all its own.

As a newly initiated tea-drinker, I loved this passage from my current read, The Elegance of the Hedgehog:

"I pour the tea and we sip in silence. We have never had our tea together in the morning, and this break with our usual protocol imbues the ritual with a strange flavor.

Yes, this sudden transmutation in the order of things seems to enhance our pleasure, as if consecrating the unchanging nature of a ritual established over our afternoons together, a ritual that has ripened into a solid and meaningful reality. Today, because it has been transgressed, our ritual suddenly acquires all its power; we are tasting the splendid gift of this unexpected morning as if it were some precious nectar; ordinary gestures have an extraordinary resonance, as we breathe in the fragrance of the tea, savor it, lower our cups, serve more, and sip again; every gesture has the bright aura of rebirth. At moments like this the web of life is revealed by the power of ritual, and each time we renew our ceremony, the pleasure will be all the greater for our having violated one of its principles. Moments like this act as magical interludes, placing our hearts at the edge of our souls: fleetingly, yet intensely, a fragment of eternity has come to enrich time. Elsewhere the world may be blustering or sleeping, wars are fought, people live and die, some nations disintegrate, while others are born, soon to be swallowed up in turn-- and in all this sound and fury, amidst eruptions and undertows, while the world goes its merry way, bursts into flames, tears itself apart and is reborn: human life continues to throb.

So, let us drink a cup of tea."


Gumbo Lily said...

I have so enjoyed your blog Poiema! I've looked through your book list, and recalled seeing a lady reading "I Saw the Lord" in the hospital this past week. Thanks for the review. The squash recipe, below, sounds so good to me, even though my kids don't like it.

I enjoyed your thoughts about tea. I prefer coffee to tea, but now and then I love some teas by Rishi. I like Citron Oolong, Msala Chai, and Blueberry Rooibos. These are all loose teas and are very good (for tea).

Thanks for stopping by my blog today.


Gumbo Lily said...

P.S. I see I misspelled one of the teas. It should be Masala Chai. I find these teas at a specialty kitchen store.

Poiema said...

Thank you for your kind words and for taking the time to leave the tea suggestions. The ones you mentioned are not familiar to me--it is always fun to expand my horizons!

Peregrina said...

The same person got me hooked on PG Tips. It's my favorite...and yes, I drink it with milk...very British of me!