“There is a great deal of poetry and fine sentiment in chest of tea.”
-Ralph Waldo Emerson-
I’d say nearly everyone who has known me for more than 12 hours knows I’m a coffee person. Coffee is … well, life. It may be a bit dramatic. But, I really do love coffee!
I’m getting off track. Let’s get back to my love of tea…
One night I was in one of those moods we all get in: I NEEDED comfort food. Considering where I’m from, this usually means anything fresh from a garden or slathered in batter and fried (maybe both). That didn’t seem to be what I wanted, though. I search through the cabinets and shelves seeming to be hunting in vain, not even sure what it was I was looking for. I popped open every container in our kitchen, until I finally found it.
I had purchased the tin canister from a thrift store. Something about its white base and 70’s deco themed flowers called out to me from the shelves. They were scratched and slightly dented, but I loved them as soon as I saw them. I had taken to storing an assortment of individual packaged tea bags in the larger of the matching pair.
A small red package stood out to me from among the multitude. I tore off the top of the foil wrapper and pulled out the small pouch by it’s string. With the porous material pressed to my nose I inhaled deeply and felt my throat catch with the memory. It is my Grandma Koch’s favorite hot tea. It’s got a thick sort of sent, rich in bergamot and orange peel. It was exactly the comfort I was looking for.
When the kettle whistled I poured the the steaming water into a small tea cup. Dunking the bag I waited until the water turned a pale brown to add spoon of sugar and dash of milk. Curling up on the couch, feet tucked under me, nestled tightly under a blanket, I sunk back and took the first tentative sip.
My heart thudded out a sort of sweetly mournful rhythm as I drank. The steam rising with orange peel and bergamot flooding my nose. Warm milk and sugar coating my tongue. They say your senses are the strongest tie to your memory. They’re right. It felt like I was sitting down to tea with my Grandparents. Grandpa with a glass of ice water and maybe a hand full of mixed nuts. Grandma and I with our cups of tea.
Since then, I’ve been in the habit of drinking a cup of tea before bed. Coffee may give me life. But tea has a way of southing and quieting my worry wrapped soul. I like to think its effects all come back around to my grandparents. My Grandparents home has always been such a restful place one where I really and truly feel at peace. And so, in the same way, a warm cup of tea in hand I find peace with the struggles, hiccups, backslides, disappointments, and other difficult parts of life. I relax enough to find the rest I need to wake up and try again tomorrow.