This morning’s tea makes yesterday distant.
Tea is one of those substances that has universal appeal. It is both balm and cure. It is both home and on holiday. It is therapeutic and spiritual. It carries the weight or the lightness of the moment. It is steeped in tradition and ritual.
When my friend died, several of us drank certain teas that she liked or that represented her, and we wrote about the experience. I wrote about her, and our complicated relationship, about my own feelings for the tea I was drinking that day, describing the flavors and sensations of the drink, and I experienced several spiritual mindfulness. It gave me an opportunity for discernment and was an integral part in my spiritual journey.
It might be idiosyncratic, but I have my own rituals around my morning tea. When my tea is dark enough, I add the milk (if it’s not a citrusy flavor) and two teaspoons of sugar. I remove the tea bag, turn out the kitchen lights, and go to my favorite chair. Before leaving the threshold of the kitchen, though I always take two sips of the hot tea through the steam. I don’t know why; I just do. Every time.
But tea is also simple in its simplicity. It’s part of my daily life a part of my sacred space. I eat with it. I write with it. I pray with it. It is rare to find something that fits in everywhere and anywhere, and tea is that rare something.
Drinking a daily cup of tea will surely starve the apothecary.
Bread and water can so easily be toast and tea.
(This very strongly made me think of communion – the body and blood of Christ in the wafer and the wine.)