Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Tea drinking ... and waiting for the right moment

I'm a tea drinker. I do also drink coffee but given the choice I would really rather drink tea - plain, no milk no sugar and preferably not out of a bag.
Because even after Advent and Christmas all times are still waiting times, and because now there is time to drink in rather differently the words from the wonderful anderer Adventskalendar, we are reading the days one more time before putting it away. This evening I have turned it to a page with a photo of a splendidly chaotic Asian tea kitchen and come across this wonderful reflection from the 16th century on the right moments to drink tea, here's my on the hoof translation:

Moments that are just right for drinking tea

When your heart and hands are doing nothing
When you are tired after reading too much poetry
When one's train of thought is disturbed
When listening to songs and melodies
When a song has been sung to its end
When you're home alone on a holiday
When playing Ch'in and looking at paintings
In the middle of the night in deep conversation
Faced with a clear window and a clean desk
When the day is clear and the breeze mild
On a day with gentle rain
In a painted boat near a wooden bridge
When the children are at school
When you've lit incense in a small workroom.
Hsü Ts'eshu

Tea drinking is about taking time out, it's a longer drink that a shot of expresso and more satisfying. My favourite moment for drinking tea is in bed in the morning, listening to the radio - especially if Dr B brings it to me. My second favourite moment is letting the tea go cold, not drinking tea because I have fallen asleep again. Something I can't do unless the tea is actually there to go cold. Some of my favourite cups of tea are the ones I never drink but am nevertheless grateful for.
Meanwhile I realise that I have never known that strange thirst for tea from reading too much poetry, but I do know a thirst from a desire for poetry to be fulfilled - for that I am still waiting. In the meantime perhaps all of us should write a crazy list of moments in life that are just right for taking a bit of time out for a cup of something refreshing.

1 Comment:

Deirdre said...

Good times to drink tea: after a loss--of a job, of a loved one, of a marriage. When under the weather for mood, health, etc. I love to drink tea with friends anywhere out and about, someone's house or my home. "Come and have a cuppa" is so easy to implement!