Ode to Tea
In the darkness I tiptoe toward the kitchen and
draw fresh water from the ever-ready tap.
The sound of water boiling warms my spirit before even the first taste.
Two teaspoons of green powder –
that magical substance known for healing
and the alert calm I feel upon sipping.
I cup my hands around the ceramic mug, bringing its rim toward my mouth.
Warming me like a blanket, the warmth trickles down,
covering and coating my core –
Each sip a droplet of warm tranquility.
I smile as I quietly acknowledge the journey of the green ground leaves –
Many hands were involved in cultivation of my liquid meditation.
This bitter substance from far away, now touches my tongue
With notes of bitterness swirling with honey and tones of almond milk.
The ecstasy of flavors whirl around on my palate like yogic asanas –
I take a breath before tasting the elixir again.
Minutes go by and the sun announces her pending arrival.
My cup simultaneously shows its bottom,
Featuring designs of leftover powder now thick and sticky.
I smile again.
That powdered tea has ritualized my morning with moments
of living in the presence of each passing second.
Now I will begin my day, noting my date with Mr. Matcha tomorrow.
Grateful for Tea
This poem was inspired by Pablo Neruda’s Ode to My Socks. I delighted in reading it as he illustrates such gratitude in his new socks.
One of my most favorite things about my day is sipping a cup of tea early in the morning. It’s a meditative ritual I’ve devised for myself.
I don’t drink coffee.
I’ve always preferred tea.
When I read Neruda’s poem, I was inspired to express gratitude, but I wasn’t sure about which specific thing. I spent my day mulling over the various things for which I am grateful.
No matter what, though, my morning ritual always includes a cup of tea.
Occasionally I use a tea bag, but my tea of choice is matcha.
Matcha is ground-up green tea leaves. It’s “powdered” tea.
It’s green tea, but amped up. And oh, so good!
It’s concentrated, which is why it has a lot of caffeine. But I will tell you, you don’t get this crazy jolt of energy.
In fact, meditating monks over in the Far East use it for long meditation sessions.
It helps to keep them going and their energy levels higher.
In the mornings, it helps to wake me up, but like I said, you don’t get a jolt of caffeine.
You sip and feel more calmly awake. Until you’ve tried it, this feeling is hard to describe.
The powder itself is bright green and fun to experiment with.
You put two teaspoons into your cup and fill with nearly boiling (not boiling) water. As the tea bubbles up with the water, it creates a neat-looking bubble layer that always makes me think of Mr. Miagi in the Karate Kid.
(Am I aging myself?) He had all these secret remedies for ailments.
You’re only supposed to drink one cup of this in a day.
More than that and you actually risk exposing yourself to too much lead. Surprising, right?
It’s because you’re drinking concentrated green tea leaves. That means you’re drinking a lot of leaves at once, essentially, and from the growing process, these leaves absorb what’s in the air and ground and yes, there’s lead.
But, no matter.
The benefits far outweigh the drawbacks: the tea makes your body more “basic,” instead of acidic, meaning it’s incredibly effective at fighting free radicals, as it contains a high amount of antioxidants.
I will caution that, again, because you’re drinking concentrated leaves, you might not want to drink this on an empty stomach the first few times.
Some people get nauseated after drinking green tea itself, let alone matcha.
It just depends on what you’re used to.
I’ve never been a coffee drinker, though.
Perhaps I’m just addicted to the meditative nature and special kind of caffeine that tea so characteristically has.
Do you drink tea?