As regular readers know, I don’t need a national day commemorating tea to drink tea. Tea is a staple as much as water and air. Hot tea is good for a cold, a sore throat, a mental health pick me up. There are so many varieties to choose from, not to mention the tisanes (herbal “teas” that don’t use actual tea leaves). In the above photo is my most recent cut of hot tea and two of my favorite flavors. With these two in particular, I add two teaspoons of sugar and a little bit of milk. The PG Tips takes especially good this way. If you want to complete the British tea experience, add a cucumber sandwich with marscapone. However you prefer your tea, drink up, but be careful: it’s hot!
After a rough morning and an argument with my husband, a crying jag of tears, it was time to try and put all of that aside to honor Brittany. That had been my plan before being briefly derailed with life as it is. It was important for me to have Brittany’s last tea on December 7th. This date was significant for a couple of reasons. For one thing, it was 19 months to the day that Brittany was murdered. It was also eight years before that I spoke to my mother for the last time before she died; the two things that have stood out for me emotionally since that time.
I showered and cleared my mind. Mostly. At least I’ve cleared it enough that I can keep the morning’s annoyances at bay, off the path and enjoy the final tea.
I usually like a savory breakfast but instead I’ve chosen sweet scones for today. The sweetness does so much better with this tea, which is actually a tisane. I’m not sure if I like it when I first taste it. It smells tea-like – the deep leafy scent that tea has. Unlike the other teas I’ve had, the scent doesn’t change much with the addition of hot water. I’ve also used honey as a sweetener, which I was told was the only thing to add, and that only smooths out the flavor.
As it steeps, there is a new scent; and taste that I can’t place exactly; it’s a would-be memory; I’m not even sure if it’s real. Strangely, it reminds me of Asian grass huts. It’s the scent of a picture in my mind. It’s very vivid. The smell is also some kind of familiar food that I don’t remember – from childhood maybe?
As I drink, I can feel my breaths deepening; my chest clearing with each swallow. I remember that there is licorice root in the blend. I can feel the extra space in my chest –cleansing. The licorice root opens my lungs as the teas have opened my soul.
This one is less of a hug than the other teas have been; this one is more of a push, a nudge in the back of the shoulder. It is an unknown expectation. It’s a ‘go; now.’ I feel it. It’s the moment when Mama Bird pushes Baby from their nest. Time to soar. Or time to fall. Or both. And it’s neither. This is definitely a push and I can hear Brittany laughing at me. I can see her curls tossed back in that laughter.
I do not like this tea.
I want so much to like this tea.
Her other four teas were all different – not really my usual taste and they all surprised me. I really liked them all. This one, though, this one is special; it is Brittany’s special blend. Her heart is in this one. I want to like this one. I need to like it.
I barely drink it before she’s laughing at me. She’s laughing at me. And swiftly, I’m laughing too. Our differences are summed up so succinctly in this cup. We were so completely different. Our tastes were different; our thoughts were different, as different as our personalities, but we can join together in a cup of tea, just not this cup of tea and….. it’s okay that I don’t like it. She’s shared it with me, her special tisane, and I’ve accepted it, but it – it is literally not my cup of tea.
This is the last of the teas that I was sent to commemorate and memorialize Brittany and think back on my relationship with her and reflect on my relationship with myself. I’ve found a lot in these teas and this time with Brittany.
However, this won’t be the last time I write about tea; or about Brittany. These teas have opened other avenues for me.
Since I started these tea times in the summer, I’ve been trying other teas that are not related to Brittany, and so I will continue that and post about those tastings.
In life, Brittany changed both of our paths. And in death, she has transformed my beliefs, my attitude, my spirituality, and who I want to be, and how, for the rest of my life.
I’m really not sure where my current life fits in, but that’s why it’s called a journey; a path, several to take on that journey.
This has been packing the backpack and refilling the water jug.
Next tea: Moroccan Mint or Ginger Citrus