By A.C. Cargill
Not everyone sees the tea moments in a rainy day. For some people, gray skies that dump their drops of rain across the landscape are just a dreary sight. Certainly, those who live in areas that have frequent rain know what I mean. Cities in the U.S. such as Seattle, Washington, and European cities such as Brussels, Belgium, and Dublin, Ireland, are some well-known examples. I, however, have another view.
Rainy days are a perfect excuse for tea moments — times to get cozy with a hot cup of my favorite Oolong tea and a treat warm from the oven (like blueberry scones with lemon curd or clotted cream). Then, I camp out in front of a window, watching those raindrops.
The windows of our house have artificial mullions to go with the look of the house (sort of Colonial but with fake shutters and a garage – not a true Colonial feature since they didn’t have cars then). These fake mullions (just strips of whatever the window frames are made from – vinyl, I think – sandwiched between two panes of glass) tend to chop up the view. There’s still plenty of clear glass, though, to see all those raindrops.
Sometimes, the rain around here sneaks up on us. A day that starts sunny can see a sudden build-up of heavy clouds that then let loose their load of rain. This morning was lightly cloudy. Then a bit a sun shone through. Now, finally in the late hours of the afternoon, the sky darkened so that I had to turn on a lamp, and then the downpour started. All the while, I took time out to watch this show of nature and wash down mouthfuls of well-chewed muffin with my PG Tips tea.
Poets talk about the heavens crying or some such. For me, it’s just the cycle of life on planet Earth. Water molecules rise up into the atmosphere in one place and, when enough have gathered, fall back to earth again over somewhere else. I do muse, though, about deep philosophical puzzles as those drops on the window gather together into large enough globs that they then run down the pane in a rivulet and puddle on the sill before spilling over onto the leaves of the bushes below.
Maybe my penchant for these gray days is because they take me back to special tea moments in my life. One was in Brussels, Belgium. It was several years ago in the Spring, a season there where you carry an umbrella when going out anywhere. That way you’re prepared for the rain (which it does every day), whether it comes in the morning or the afternoon. Large cities in Europe such as Brussels tend to have a bunch of “squares” – open areas about an acre or two in size and surrounded by buildings containing shops, cafés, and other businesses. On one such square, after finding the perfect trip souvenirs, my friends and I had a bit of a time out in a café there. The moment was right, too, since the rain began shortly after we were seated.
I can still clearly remember that square as seen through the café window (with true mullions and lace curtains) — all of the umbrellas that suddenly sprouted like mushrooms as shoppers were caught outside when the rain started and the dancing drops of water on the cobblestone streets and forming puddles in the most inconvenient places. If I close my eyes and really concentrate, I can almost taste the Belgian chocolates and wonderfully rich tea I had that day.
Next time it rains, grab a cup of your favorite tea and head to the nearest window. There you can gaze out and let that view evoke your own rainy day memory. Enjoy!
Check out A.C.’s blog, Tea Time with A.C. Cargill, for more great writing!