Last Friday's Gratiku was about how morning comes, with its rituals, in spite of all the challenges that we've been fretting about through the night. The poem ended with "tea," which is what our daughter used to chirp as a tiny child whenever she heard the kettle whistle. Alan J. Wright, in his comment, wrote this about the roles tea played in his household growing up: "Peace maker, activity breaker, time marker, visitor offering." Yes! All that and more!
I don't drink alcohol, but if I did, I suspect I would be tempted to overindulge in these stressful days in Haiti. (Plus there are stressful things happening with family far away, too.) Fortunately, I have an acceptable alternative: tea. I suppose I could overdo on the caffeine, and I definitely put too much sugar in my tea, but in general, it's not going to hurt me if I keep sucking down mug after mug of this comforting brew. You know how on British World War II dramas, whenever a street is bombed in the Blitz, someone is making tea for all the survivors? That's the kind of function tea sometimes serves for me. It's a chance to sit down and to focus on something other than the immediate concerns of the day. Ideally you drink it slowly, since it's piping hot. I have been accused of having an asbestos mouth (not to be confused with "hot lips") because I can drink it pretty fast even straight from the pot. But even I have to slow down a little to drink my cuppa.
And then of course there's all the tea paraphernalia. The pots and the infusers and all the different kinds of tea (that link has a poem I wrote about sun tea, so refers to drinking it cold, but at least it talks about all the different kinds and where they come from). The cinnamon and ginger and pepper and cardamom when I want to make chai. The carefully sealed container of sugar (an often fruitless attempt to keep out the tropical ants). The can of powdered milk (Haiti doesn't have a dairy industry and we don't have a cow). And the mugs! Recently, taking stock, we counted an embarrassing number of mugs that we own. I asked my kids to guess how many, promising them that whoever got the closest without going over would win -- a mug! Seriously, we are the Bezos of mugs. We have given a bunch away this week, trying to hoard fewer of the earth's precious mug resources and atone for our excess by aiding the mugless.
I am so thankful for tea, whether I make it myself or whether it's made for me by my husband (or either of my children, when they still lived here - they both know how to make it just the way I like it). Endless cups of tea are easing my way through my days, keeping me alert and calm and ready for the next thing.
River of hot tea
carries me downstream to peace.
Another cup, please.
Birdtober? Gratiku? What's up with me and these made-up words and daily posting? Well, I've learned that a tiny little burst of creativity each day helps keep me going, stops me from being entirely fixated on the mess. That's why I post daily photos on Facebook. And that's why I'm doing these writing projects. This one is a daily haiku about something I'm thankful for. (A gratitude haiku - get it?) As long as the internet keeps working, I'm going to try to post one every day in November.