by Stephanie Hanson
Whenever close friends or family members ask me if I would like a cup of tea, my response is usually a grin, for they know that I have yet to turn down a hot cuppa. But there is one house where the tea kettle remains on the stove, and water is always put on within moments of having walked in the door. Tea is a given on visits to this house, the home of a friend’s parents who spent time living in India. There might be cookies or homemade bread to go with the conversation and tea, but tea is always the constant. If only there were more homes like this one!
A visit to my own kitchen usually includes an offer of tea, then laughter as I present the wide array of options in my personal teahouse. But there is always warmth in a cup of tea, that goes beyond the steam rising above it. Tea has been praised for being able to heal practically any ailment one can think of, but in my unprofessional opinion, it is the best medicine for the soul when accompanied by friendship. A good dose of these two things will cure most ailments of the heart and soul, or at the very least, lessen their effects.
Therefore I plead, bring back low tea. Bring back that time in the afternoon for slowing down. Tea inspires patience: waiting for the water to boil, waiting for the leaves to steep, savoring each warm sip in bliss. The debate rages on about the amount of caffeine in tea, and yet, tea does not seem to inspire the caffeine-driven crazes of coffee drinkers rushing to espresso shops for their fix. Tea brings calm, quiet conversation accompanied by the clinking of demitasse spoons. The accompanying snacks need not be delicate finger sandwiches or intricate pastries. Simple slices of cheese or a hearty scone would suffice, just to take some time out of the day.
I challenge you. One day this week, in the afternoon, stop. Put a kettle on if you can. Make your tea, but don’t just chug it down mindlessly. Have a little snack. Sit, contemplate, savor. Stop to smell the roses. And enjoy your cuppa.