Saturday, August 18, 2007

Thoughts on Tea

I like to drink tea more in principle than in practice. This is not to say that I don't like to drink tea. I in fact enjoy tea very much, but truth be told, drinking it is not the most enjoyable part of the experience.
I began drinking tea because it seemed like the classy, bohemian, starving artist, intellectual thing to do. This is a rather vapid reason for doing anything, but don't judge too harshly; there are worse thing I could have done for much more insignificant reasons. Even though my relationship with tea began as a vain experiment in culture, I have learned to appreciate and enjoy it very much. As I have already stated though, the enjoyment does not come from solely from the act of drinking.
It is difficult to put the tea experience into words. There are several different, and very distinct, ways in which tea is very pleasurable. One of the most enjoyable aspects of having tea is the smell. When the steamy, fruity, herbal, spicy, delicious aroma reaches your olfactory glands, it is pure bliss. All of the troubles and frustrations melt away for a few moments while the little wisps of steam rise and disappear from the warm tonic. Only holding the warm mug in two hands, especially on a cold or rainy day, heightens this sensation. It is an act of meditation, a practice in the art of being present and letting go.
Hot tea is not the only way to enjoy the act of tea. During these hot humid days, it's hard to beat a tall glass of iced tea. It is somehow colder and more quenching than water alone. Even the ice cubes seem to float more happily in a glass of tea. There is a certain, distinct condensation on the outside of a glass that can only be created by this icy brew.
There is also something very quaint and homey about inviting someone into your house for a cup of tea, whether iced, hot, or otherwise. It has the ability to bring two people closer together. A friendship forged through a mutual appreciation for this remarkable concoction. Having tea becomes a relationship, not only with another person, but also with yourself and the history of this long loved beverage.