Saturday, April 18, 2009

Open Sesame

The sunlight poured through my windows shortly after dawn. I felt several padded feet lightly scampering over me and opened my eyes to behold a feline figure starting a roost for himself on my knee. He then became distracted by a chirping baby sparrow, who out of the blue, appeared outside the window pressing his inquisitive face against the glass pane. This sent our sable cat flying to the windowsill with those preternatural-sounding noises that he invariably makes when spotting any member of the avian race.

With that much spring in the air, I pulled out a flowering green tea, a uniquely Chinese conceit. A flower, ranging from a rose to an osmanthus bulb, had been placed amidst a cluster of tea leaves. The greenish leaves were tightly bound to each other, bulb-like, as if to protect a rare secret. I lightly deposited the bulb into hot water and watched the steam rise from the cup. Little by little, the leaves unfurled, revealing a rose-colored blossom fringed by fluttery yellow petals.

I sipped the golden liquor, inhaling the herbaceous scent. The taste was surprisingly subtle; only hints of the tea's floral nature were present. I paired the tea with a slice of a banana-strawberry bread bought from a local bakery. The plump berries seemed to serenade the now fully-flowered bulb, gently lolling in my cup. The sun became veiled by drifting clouds and the outside temperature fell as I finished my tea. I poured cold water over the fragrant blossom and placed it on the kitchen windowsill, preserving spring for another few days.

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