Sunday, September 10, 2017

Of Tea and Adirondack Chairs

About the tea thing. About why Happy Uterus Tea would even show up on my radar.

Tea is a symbol.

Tea is the Adirondack chair of my life. The Adirondack chair figured in an essay I read once years ago: a woman bought Adirondack chairs because she had visions of pouring lemonade, setting the glass on the wide arms, relaxing and enjoying life. I have that same fantasy, but in mine, I’m sitting and drinking tea.

The woman in the essay got rid of her Adirondack chairs years later, because she’d never sat in them.
I may not have Adirondack chairs, but I have a lot of tea paraphernalia. I have beautiful teacups, I have teaspoons, tea party place cards. I even have a penguin in a tuxedo who lifts the tea bag out of the cup after three minutes have passed.

My daughter and I had tea parties. She collected tiny tea sets. Lots of them. I’ve moved her tiny tea set collection several times during room relocations, carpet removal, carpet replacement. I know her tiny tea sets intimately. Much of the tea paraphernalia we collected together.

The beautiful teacups were a gift many years ago from a friend. I let them sit in the cabinet for years because they were the “good” teacups. They were waiting for special occasions while we drank regular, no-special-occasion tea from no-special-occasion mugs. Those teacups waited a long time … till I learned in my Third Third that life was meant to be enjoyed now and waiting is a misguided gamble.

The tea vision involves having women friends over to drink tea with me (and my teacups and my teaspoons and my penguin). That meant I needed a large enough teapot to fill many cups of tea. I searched and searched for one for years, and finally found one at a crafts fair in Massachusetts. It’s beautiful.
It’s the teapot I made the tea cozy for, the “tea yurt.”
And then I went to London, where people sit down with their tea no matter what. On Masterpiece, the characters are always offering each other tea for distress and trauma, illness and worry, and it works! In London, I tasted tea at Twinings and bought the most delicious Ginger and Sicilian Lemon “silky bag infusions” at Fortnum & Mason.

So this is what tea is: it’s a vision of a life of friends, of conversation, of quiet, of appreciation for now. Of special moments, of finding calm, of a daughter’s enchantment, of sharing in another culture. Of finding something beautiful, creating something new, of trying out new tastes.

In my Third Third, tea is way more than just worrying about all the peeing afterwards and whether I’m near a restroom. And what to do because everyone else drinks coffee.

This is the bigger Third Third question: Do I actually sit down and drink tea? Do I actually let myself enter that tea drinking mental space? (sigh…) I’m more like the woman in the essay not drinking lemonade in her Adirondack chair.

My Third Third is always a work in progress….

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