June 21, 2016
An Ode to Tea
Photo credit: Ella Wilson
Tea, you and I go way back.
I first heard about you when I was about three or four years old. I was outside under a lacy green maple tree sipping pink lemonade out of pastel rose tea cups enjoying tiny sandwiches, cucumbers and strawberries. Mom had suggested we have a picnic tea party for lunch. I invited my dolls, stuffed teddy bears and my beagle, Roxie joined us.
At ten years old, tea became a weekly reward after I did chores at my grandparents’ home. My grandmother would decorate the table with fine linens, a bowl of sugar cubes, a pitcher of cream, and a hodgepodge of floral tea cups and plates colored the table resembling an indoor garden. I learned proper manners and enjoyed your company from a bone china cup.
As a teen, you provided comfort to me when I had migraines. Your warmth lifted my spirits and allowed gray mattered memories to arrive. I became smitten with your floral perfume and how you ceremonially greeted me. You always found a way to cheer me up. You were always kindhearted and made me take time out to reflect on what was good in my life.
You came along with me when I went to college. My grandmother gave me a white tea pot, a tea ball, and a few tins of loose leaf tea. You helped me stay awake to study and do well on exams — thank you.
Tea, today you help me travel through my mind’s map of memories. I remember when I went to England and after having high tea, you became a daily ritual. Taking time out with you reminded me to live in the now.
When I had children, you became a sanctuary in my day. Sometimes I had to rush our visits together, as I pushed my children on the swing or tended to their needs, but we still had our special moments. You and I would hang out on a corner bench by the playground or curl up on the couch and find joy reading children’s books to my kids.
Tea, you have helped me remember my past, live in the now, and build a bridge to my future. We have watched the sun rise together, observed soap box rants of birds tweeting and hopping about on my deck, observing the first star, as we watched the moon swim to her lifeguard post.
You have supported my dreams, taken part in shared celebrations with me and honored the ordinary moments in my life. Tea, you have saved me many times. I could always count on you to calm me with your Earl Grey mood or kiss anxiety away with an elixir of vanilla beans. Somehow, you always helped me cope no matter what was going on in my life.
I love how when I am with you. I can be in Ireland for breakfast, India at noon, and in the evening visiting Japan or China. I can travel with you throughout my life as we share the bitter and the sweet.
You brighten my world with lemon wedges, sugar cubes, and pretty floral bone china. There are not enough words to describe all the gifts and sentiment you have given me. The best gift of all is the one filled with hope and the chance to still dream, as you daily wake my creativitea.
Ella Wilson is a mixed-media artist who tries to find calmness and beauty in various facets of her day. Visit her blog at ellasedge.blogspot.com, find her on Twitter and Instagram @ellasedge, and visit her Etsy shop at Ellasedge.etsy.com.