May 2018 “Cloud Temple” Fresh Spring Green Tea
One of my three creative endeavors I wanted to pursue this year was gardening. I’ve always loved the idea of a garden, I even go so far as to buy and plant things, but that’s usually where my participation in the process wanes. I may receive a few cherry tomatoes, but the plants stay small due to lack of nourishment and attention, and pretty soon it is a sad weedy mess. This year I swore to myself it would be different, which I’ve sworn before, but these year it truly has.
I think it’s because of my trip to Tea Sage Hut in Taiwan. Being asked to go cut rosemary to go on the sweet potatoes that were to be a part of a delicious bowl. Being told the vegetable we were enjoying had come out of the garden I had helped water. Pulling weeds as part of service at the property and discovering treasures like decomposed leaves that looked like veins of gold.
And then, getting to have the truly special experience of visiting an organic tea farm and getting to help pick and process green tea. While you can age green tea, it really is meant to be enjoyed fresh, and I don’t think we could have gotten much fresher, leaving with a sealed bag of tea at the end of that day that we had just picked that morning.
And since then, I’ve found myself doing things I’ve rarely or never done. Weeding the yard and actually enjoying it and the discoveries I make in the process. Watering the garden and plants, not just once in a while and when it’s often too late, but consistently and lovingly. Noticing the herbs I have and instead of just allowing them to be landscaping, making use of them in recipes, sage bundles, and peppermint and lemon balm tea!
Therefore, when this month’s tea arrived from Global Tea Hut and it was a fresh picked green tea from the same farm I got to visit, it took me back, but also helped me realize how much has changed since I got to have my own experience picking green tea.
Often things have to be contrasted for us to really notice them. It took me getting out of my element and going to Tea Sage Hut and seeing how the people there truly cared for and stayed connected with the earth, and how they took pleasure and had value in doing simple things like cooking and cleaning. And when I came home, I was able to see I had all the same opportunities, I just hadn’t realized their potential or prioritized that time as worthy.
And that’s what this month’s painting is about. As the Tea and Tao Magazine that came with this month’s tea explained, green tea is best served as leaves in a tianmu tea bowl. These bowls are often dark in color, and that contrast with the bright green leaves really allows you to appreciate them and enjoy your tea even more. The painting is therefore my interpretation of looking down into a tianmu bowl.
I’m so thankful for how my trip helped me to see my life differently and all the ways I am now interacting with and caring for my garden, cultivating myself in the process.
What are those experiences for you that have given you the necessary space and contrast to help highlight and make your life and maybe the simple things fresh to you again?
Tea Wayfarer and Tea Spirit
Tea Spirit of December 2017
Tea Spirit of January, February, and March 2018
Tea Spirit of April 2018
Lee Ann Hilbrich, MA, LMFT, LPC, CDWF, RYT 200
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