Sunflowers have new depths of meaning these days, a fact that seems startlingly at odds with the flower's straightforward boldness. After all, its perpetual cheeriness and habit of quite literally following the sun make this a fitting symbol for reveling in summer's warmth, simple happiness. But even the robust sunflower—that with a more subtle hue, … Continue reading Ukraine and Sunflowers
Back about a lifetime ago, in February, I bemoaned that my year had begun badly. Understatement of the year. As 2020 winds down amid global tragedy, my own year brought not only the pandemic, but personal loss. I've written about bereavement in years past, but this time it's different. The social structures that help cushion … Continue reading Grief, Tea, and the Disruption of Ritual
There's nothing in the world like a newborn. Each baby attests to the astounding miracle of life! And reminds us how this most vulnerable of beings is yet tenacious—and infinitely precious. Which means that when I read about left-behind children awhile ago, I found the account both incredibly sad and beautifully encouraging. Left-behind children—children left with … Continue reading Learning Tea Ceremony Impacts Lives, Including Children’s
Tea and wine taste nothing alike. Yet are these wine or tea descriptions? lush, buttery floral and vanilla notes floral aromas of jasmine, orange blossom and honeysuckle flavors of spiced plum and dark cherry, notes of cocoa leather, tobacco smoke, and dried cherries velvety mouth feel and subtle and lightly smoky notes of cocoa and leather … Continue reading Tea and Wine Taste Descriptions: Fact or Fiction?
Memorial Day 2020-style may look much different from previous years. Perhaps a little more about gratitude and a little less about those Memorial Day sales.Like too many holidays, Memorial Day, or Decoration Day, began with the truest of intentions and then warped into something else. Immediately after the American Civil War ended, people began to honor … Continue reading Gratitude
My year started out with a bang. Literally, when in January an inexperienced driver ran a red light and totaled my car, breaking my husband's rib in the process. February began with my husband and I making a rather treacherous drive north for a family emergency, a drive that took nearly three hours longer than … Continue reading My Year So Far Requires a Cup of Tea
It's interesting, although rather unfortunate, that "tea" means so many things in English—and I view our often limited choice of words as one of the (many) downfalls of our language. (For example, I can think of several words and descriptions for "snow" but the Sami have 180 and the Scots apparently some 421!*) The Oxford … Continue reading “Tea”—May the Odds Be Ever in Your Favor
Guest post by Alissa, of Lettered Madness Having been called away this week for pressing family matters, my lovely daughter kindly stepped in for me, sharing some tea superstitions that she dug up—perfect for October when we begin fashioning costumes and picking up our favorite Halloween candy! Tea — warm, comforting, calming. Or is it? … Continue reading The Perils of Incorrectly Having Tea!
Having left the Japanese teahouse and garden (see previous post) at Sonnenberg Gardens & Mansion, we continued on through rose, Italian, blue and white, pansy, moonlight, and old fashioned gardens to the mansion part of the estate. As mentioned in my last post, this 1886 Queen Anne-style building was a summer home for New York … Continue reading Tea on the Road: The Tea Cart
There's something extraordinarily peaceful about meandering through a Japanese tea garden.Thomas Heyd (2002) aptly captures this feeling: In the tea garden, the express intent is to induce reflection and thoughtfulness on the way to the teahouse and its ceremony. . . . [the] ideas behind the history of Japanese gardens crystallize in the notion that … Continue reading Tea on the Road: A Japanese Teahouse and Garden