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Our first hyacinth of this season, warming in a window
I’m water-forcing the first hyacinth of spring, even though it’s going to drop below zero degrees this weekend. No matter, because there are only 36 days until spring. Mother Earth knows how to handle this.
It’s in a bright, warm window, and in a few weeks, its pretty face will peek out, and its beautiful fragrance will fill the room. We have a fridge full of hyacinth and tulip bulbs that have been chilling since September. Time to get to work.
I just found a great YouTube channel called Wu De, the channel for Global Tea Hut. This is all about choosing, brewing, and serving tea, in all its gorgeous Asian ritual, enjoying the amazing fragrances and tastes of all the teas the Earth gives us, and experiencing spiritual transformation through serving and sharing tea.
I grew up in another culture of tea. My Irish grandmother, Mearog, would serve tea each day between 3:30 and 4 p.m. Everyone, except my father, who was working, would gather at the table. To an extra-large, brown, clay pot (called a ‘Brown Betty’) she would add loose, black tea leaves (a fistful - she didn’t bother with measurement), pour boiling water over, and steep for several minutes.
It was strong, black, Irish tea, designed to warm and dry the body’s dosha. We all took our tea sweet, with lots of cream. This ritual lasted no more than 15 minutes each day, but it shaped our lives. To this day, my brothers and I drink the same tea, sweet and rich, whenever we get together. My mother and I always share tea during our visits.
I drink my Irish grandmother’s tea every day. But since my childhood, I’ve developed a taste for a very wide variety of other, mostly Asian and Indian teas – konpello, matcha, doodh patti, twig, pu-erh, Tibetan butter tea, masala chai, rooibos, and Taiwan pearl milk.
I’ve collected far too many teapots, chawan, Matcha whisks, mugs, infusers, spoons, and porcelain. While I was in Hong Kong, I found a gorgeous tea kettle for water boiling. It was made by someone who cared about his craft, and to last many lifetimes. We use it each day.
Tea is filled with spirit, geometry, tradition, art, and wisdom. It has a line of energy that connects itself to the drinker. It offers us love and wisdom. It brings balance.
A good cup of tea is the combined effort of a lot of mastery –tea cultivators, potters, brewers, and servers. Pot is the father; water is the mother. A patient, beautiful, flowing stream of water fills your cup, and the tea warms your spirit. Draw the water, lay the coals, boil the water, rinse the bowls, steep the tea.