A Theology of Tea

tea cup on books

Yes, the world may aspire to vacuousness, lost souls mourn beauty, insignificance surrounds us.  Then let us drink a cup of tea. Silence descends, one hears the wind outside, autumn leaves rustle and take flight, the cat sleeps in a warm pool of light. And, with each swallow, time is sublimed. Muriel Barbery, The Elegance of the Hedgehog

For the past five years I lived entirely in the warm equatorial sun of coastal Ecuador, a constant summer, absent of seasons, of winter, of falling leaves and snow encrusted trees.   It was lovely and summery and succulent to the skin.  But my tea was unhappy. Thoroughly discontented.  Iced tea was popular, yes, but tea gets tired of being pummeled by hulking, utilitarian ice cubes and guzzled down in sweaty glasses that leave rings on the table.  Tea longs for winter.  In cold weather, tea feels happy inside delicate china cups, sipped and savored, as if the meaning of its life is fulfilled; for  it knows that it is warm and comforting, a simple balm of tranquility to the drinker’s otherwise fretful day.

I recently returned to North America, to a cool New Mexico autumn, with only a few items–sadly not a teapot among them. Even before getting a stick of furniture for our apartment, I bought a teapot–first things first–and began brewing.  My tea thanked me effusively. . . .

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