Once upon a time, a feisty little lady with eyes of blue stained glass who loved trees and mountains, strong filtered coffee and wild, sweet blackberry jam and crisp air, gave me some tea. The tea was from the mountains she loved the most. She gave me the tea at a time in her life when her days were drawing shorter and her vision was becoming tunnelled and she was getting fuzzy around the edges.
She gave me the tea because I loved her son, and I guess she thought I always would. But one day we didn’t love each other so much any more, so I left and I took the tea with me. I guess it was mine to take.
I moved to Sydney then back to Melbourne, then all over the country, crissing and crossing, and finally up to Queensland, and the tea came with me. It is a tea that likes travel.
I only drink it once a year, and so I can’t tell if the flavour has changed much. I don’t know if tea goes stale, I assume it does. It doesn’t taste stale, but seems different all the same. Or perhaps it’s me whose tastes have changed as the years flip over and then over again. The tea seems more mellow, more relaxing, less sharp. Or perhaps that’s just me. They say that you can read tea leaves to find out your destiny. Perhaps your tea can read you too.
It takes a while for the cool of the seasons to set in, up here, from where I perch. There is no real Autumn, for no trees lose their leaves, but around Easter-time there is a dampness in the mornings and a nibble of cold in the evenings, and you can get the sense that further South it has started to change. The nights draw in a little, and so I get out the Himalayan tea.
My Himalayan tea has fancy aspirations so I brew it in my Nanna stuff. A Royal Doulton teapot, and a fine cup and saucer beside it. Sometimes I use the matching set, and other times I use one of the cups salvaged from one of my Nanna’s homes. Jean or Marjorie, the ladies I knew well, or perhaps Kathleen, a fine old girl whose mind had gone away before I came on the scene. I also have one from Lesley, that little lead-footed dynamo who is still going strong, and sharp as a tack with her emails and iPads.
The noise of the tea cup on the saucer takes me back to slow days of scones and tea cosies and crocheting and cards.
The whispery tinkle of the tea pouring takes me to a place of warmth and comfort and safety and love.
Today I can feel a tickle or two of cool in the breeze as it ruffles the hairs on my arms and tries to tease them to attention. Looking down from my writing eyrie I can see a slight change to the blue of the sea, it is moving to grey tones, just like those startling blue eyes did when they started to fade.
Today I will choose a teapot, new. A gift from a stranger, with a heart as colourful as it’s knitted jacket, and I will sip my tea, grown from a mountain soil that I will never visit. I will imagine the prayer flags that were laid down with me in mind, and I will wish things to be different. I will wish that all of these beautiful tea-loving women still walked these living paths. That they were still here, making fresh brews and fresher stories, rather than these tales in my mind.
…From The Ashers xx