July 2018 “Duck Shit” Dancong Oolong Tea from Global Tea Hut
“We visited another 800-year-old tree and all sat and held Her, praying for medicine and healing for this place. She had a brand new five-story building looming over Her, with air-conditioners humming up all the floors, sewage smells and power lines passing within meters of Her majestic branches.”
-Global Tea Hut Tea & Tao Magazine, July 2018
The scene described above occurred at Phoenix Mountain in China during Global Tea Hut’s annual trip and I read about it in the magazine while enjoying the tea of the month. And I found myself in kinship with this tree, and very humbled. I myself am a highly sensitive person and I am definitely affected by all those polluting factors the tree was facing – noise, smell, and electric and magnetic fields. But unlike a tree, I can move if I find myself in an unhealthy environment. The tree, however, was stuck there to endure and become sick, and most likely will die early like another ancient one in the same area already has.
People and animals that are abused have always held my heart strings, leading me to choose to eat plant-based to not support factory farms and speciesism, and directing my resources to organizations that help end trafficking and/or provide basics for kids in need. And now, I’m becoming more and more attuned to our green friends. I am that person who hugs trees because it feels good to me, and hopefully for the tree too. I held a tea ceremony for a 100-year-old oak tree that was cut down to yes, put up a school parking lot, because I wanted it to know it was loved and appreciated. I believe trees too are sentient beings, beings who give so much to us, literally the breath in our lungs, and yet we disrespect them and treat them as disposable, like so many things in this day and age.
I knew I wanted this month’s painting to be a tribute to that tree that was prayed over by Global Tea Hut members on their trip and to all the trees that are in danger of being deforested and/or suffering, but for a while I didn’t know how I wanted to make it. The thought of drawing power lines and a tree depressed me, and that wasn’t the prayer I wanted to offer. Then, serendipitously, I came across this image I had saved of hands holding a tree, and it inspired me. Ideally, I’d like that we protect and defend the ancient trees where they are, not wiping out the indigenous beings like we’ve done so often throughout history because we want the land. But if not that, I love this thought that trees can be moved, which seems impossible, but in fact, it’s happened, and even in my town.
Although the tree I held the tea ceremony wasn’t saved, another 100-year-old oak was and was moved to its own park so it could live, and a road could still be expanded. But that takes a lot of money and very dedicated people committed to speaking and fighting for the trees, which is why I’m hoping this art piece will inspire more people to come to appreciate trees and be willing to give them a hand.
Benefits of Trees
From Houston Area Urban Forestry Council
Tea Wayfarer and Tea Spirit
Tea Spirit of December 2017
Tea Spirit of January, February, and March 2018
Tea Spirit of April 2018
Tea Spirit of May 2018
Tea Spirit of June 2018