Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Nature of Things

I woke up in the bedroom of my childhood today after a night of hearing the torrential winds. Many branches scattered on the sidewalks, crunching beneath my shoes when E and I went for our walk. The morning brought with it bracing breezes that contrasted with the preternaturally balmy temperatures of yesterday.

I was excited at the prospect of trying a new tea which E so kindly bestowed upon me, increasing my already sizable collection of Chinese greens. The tea is Rishi's Ancient Snow Buds, a Chinese green tea grown in the Yunnan province, prized as it is harvested during a very limited season. The tea leaves were surprisingly long and bleached-white, reminiscent of the appearance I associate with the white teas. I followed the directions for brewing the tea: two tablespoons of dry tea leaves for each cup. The business of infusing the tea was a little fraught as I did not have my usual tea appurtenances and had to make do with what was at hand in my mom's domain. However, I found a nice glass pot into which I poured the boiling water to be cooled. The tea leaves were next deposited into the pot and swirled. As the tea was left to infuse, I observed with pleasure the leaves plumping and elongating, emitting a very mild aroma. I sipped the liquor from the first infusion, which was permitted to brew for a full 7 minutes ( unusually a long duration for a green tea, but for some reason which I am not cognizant of, is called for with brewing this particular tea). Like the aroma, the taste was pleasantly mild, not at all astringent, considering the long brewing time the tea had underwent. However, it was not until the second infusion, that I was overwhelmed by the tea's unique quality: the liquor was unmistakably honey-sweet, but not cloyingly so. I thought of how fitting it is that its appearance was a limpid golden hue, evoking springtime blossoms and flitting bees.

I eagerly awaited the third infusion to brew. As I expectantly sipped from my cup, I tasted a rather attenuated version of my previous brew. I sadly collected the tea leaves, from which had been coaxed wonderful flavors, and was reminded of the ephemeral nature of things.

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