Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Tea on the Bay

If it were practical, I would bring my entire tea cabinet with me when I travel. I would have all my stalwarts at hand, wherever I may be. It is true that even in a tea-impoverished zone, I can usually find a cafe which at least carries Lipton tea. But I am spoiled, when it comes to tea. I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about it: what tea to drink, when to fit it in at work, and what kind to get when replenishing my tea supply (which always seems to be dwindling). With all this preoccupation with tea, can you blame me if I find an encounter with a dangling tea bag from an oversized paper cup slightly anticlimactic?

So, wanting to be duly prepared, I put together a tea kit for our last get-away of the summer. The essentials: two tea mugs, two metal infusers, a teaspoon for scooping out tea, our trusty electric tea kettle, and a large bag filled with Silver Needles, a tea mellow enough to drink into the waning hours of day. I stored these carefully, tucked between cottony summer clothing.

At an inn by the bay, I dismantled the kit and found for it a temporary home on a solid oaken dresser. In the morning and in the evening after dinner, I would brew tea for us, our little household ritual transplanted for the time being up north. Instead of the hum of sparse city traffic, I hear the crash of surf outside our window as I boil water.

I woke up in the early morning to the lapping of waves and the plaintive cries of gulls. My head, still on the pillow, I looked through the half-open window, curtains blowing. I saw a vast expanse of ripply blue, broken occasionally by cresting foam. I felt as if I were floating on a barge, its motion imperceptible, as I could not see the patch of reedy marshland below our window.

I walked out the front door with a mug of tea in each hand, my sandaled feet wet from the dewy sedge. I handed E his mug and settled back with mine, looking out across the bay at the jutting spit of land protecting our cove. The familiar taste of the Silver Needles, sipped from an oft-used mug, imbued my morning with a sense of home.

Sunday in Late August, Washington Island


Anonymous said...

I'm glad your vacation was so centered in tea. It's interesting too that you think about how to fit tea in at work. I'm trying to imagine you in a back room in the hospital full of storage where you have a little tea station that no one bothers because you're the doctor. --Spirituality of Tea

Cha sen said...

Wow, I like that image, Jason. Kinda like a tea-centric St. Elsewhere :)

In reality, my tea station is a little corner on my desk, next to the looming desktop, a de rigueur part of my work nowadays. Teatime is indeed a welcome part of my day.