Friday, November 12, 2021

Poetry Friday: Gratiku Day Twelve


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.

 

Matt has today's roundup here. 


11 comments:

Matt Forrest Esenwine said...

There is nothing else quite like tea to soothe the spirit and mind, Ruth - I can see why it inspired you!

Karen Eastlund said...

Ruth: Tea does have a quiet calm to it, in spite of the caffeine. I'm glad you can count on it. I fear we are mug hoarders also...I'll look for mugless friends! I love your gratikus... keep them coming.

jama said...

Hear, hear, this is my kind of post. YES to everything tea. There's a ritual involved with drinking tea -- as you cited, with all the paraphernalia, etc., and the chance to slow down and enjoy its soothing comfort. Smiled at you being the Bezos of mugs :). My mom was the same way.

Linda B said...

I am not a hot tea drinker, Ruth. Forgive me! But I do make chai & like it iced! Except for a few cups of coffee in the am, I am an iced drink person all day, even when it's really cold. But I love reading your love for it & wonder if I had grown up with a tea-drinking family, it would be different. As for mugs, an organization I donate to just sent another! I've given them away, too, but they just keep coming! Have a good weekend!

GretchenJoanna said...

God bless you! Tea is a blessing much more useful in a broad way than wine ever could be, though even the Bible mentions the usefulness of wine. I also am not that familiar with it as a balm; it's said to "make the heart rejoice" and in moderation it does that. But tea! It is good for everything. You said it so well.

Mary Lee said...

Three cheers for tea! May it calm you and energize you and soothe you and jazz you...whichever you need at the moment! Sending hugs.

Janice Scully said...

The tea rituals really do keep me going, and even the smallest bursts of creativity. Love the haiku and your post is funny--about being the Bezos of mugs. They do crowd a cabinet, don't they?

Michelle Kogan said...

Thanks for this calming image you painted with your cuppa tea Ruth, I love it, and all that came before too! And I like drinking it hot too.

Jone said...

I am grateful for tea as well. I have tea from Scotland that has Blaeberry leaves, berries, birch leaf, heather blossom which were used in WWII when getting tea leaves were difficult.

KatApel - katswhiskers.wordpress.com said...

I inhale tea, Ruth. My tea of choice is green tea. No milk required. (I was actually surprised to read about the powdered milk. That's astounding. I think I would love to chat to you sometime to fully appreciate your life. For now - we can share tea.)

Also, your mugs.šŸ˜¹

Denise Krebs said...

Ruth, what a beautiful "tea" post. Oh, my, I smiled and laughed sometimes, and nodded often with understanding, for I have learned to love tea while I've been in Bahrain. So many Indian and British influences here, and karak chai with ginger, cardamom and saffron makes my mouth water thinking about it. Such a fun post. Yes, more peace and tea, please.