I wish I could remember who started me on the path to tea, but I know that it has been a quiet presence in my life's background since college, as I believe Sperry drank tea regularly. I have no doubt that in the passing years I have been offered many a cup and turned them down due to lack of familiarity.I believe it may have been Gareth, when he stayed with us a few years ago, bringing a box of tea with him and having a cup during even the hottest days of summer. Even though I didn't know much about what I was drinking, I remembered finding it comforting, sharing cups on the couch with a friend in the long stretches of summer afternoons.
I think my comfort garnered shades of addiction shortly after a conversation with Jake, which ended with him saying, "What do you mean, you've never had chai?"
I, of course, took this as a challenge, and finally braved the wilds of Teavana to pick out tea for myself.
A couple of years later, a careful examination of my kitchen would turn up a few nondescript containers to the left of the stove, all of which contain the magic substance of afternoon contemplation.
I've begun keeping more of it in the house since last summer, when Jeff was sent to San Francisco for a three-week work errand. During his first week there, he visited Chinatown and thought I might enjoy having a small cast-iron vessel for steeping tea. It came home with him, carefully wrapped in clothing, on his first weekend visit home.
In that year, I've used it almost daily, but I've never bought a teakettle. I'm not sure why. Recalcitrance? Forgetfulness? I don't know. Each teatime would find me pouring water into my smallest saucepot for heating and muttering, "I really should look into getting a teapot for this."
This week, I did.
In life, some pleasures are overarching, sharply sweet; measured in single, pure, memorable moments. Some, on the other hand, are slow, deliberate sips of contentment; not moments you point to for their considerable beauty, but moments that, stroke by stroke, paint life in a brighter shade.