Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Tea and Rhythm

My days begin and end in steam. The dark winter mornings are slow - after long nights nursing the stove I pour a blue and white ‘willow’ cup full of coffee and watch the cream swirl in to the thick darkness. The ritual opens my day, before sunrise, before food and music, and morning prayer. There is something sacred in the quiet moment, a tiny retreat before stepping out into the day; a chance to greet the dawn from my own interior cloister. That lonely cup is my cell, and in it I learn everything there is to know about the new day.

When the day truly begins, with morning prayer and the early meal, we fall into a pattern for our hours - ora et labora - clean, tea, wood, tea, play, lunch, read, tea… the itinerary changes. This week I clean, split-wood, write, read all about Wilma’s fat cat and pet rat as they argue over a mat, tend the stove, and sew. The consistency is in the breaking, in the moments of tea and quiet, or tea and chatter, in the time spent at our little table - or on chairs before the roaring fire - refreshing our tiny community.

Evening tea is reflective. After supper-time, after evening prayers there is often, but not always, a later cup. For it I leave my willow-ware resting on shelves and hold one of my own again. The softness of my own small creation sleeping gently against my hand is soothing to the ever-shifting palm-lines; I can feel each moment of it’s creation - as though there ought to be a mark for this, and every other pot I’ve birthed, and perhaps there are, so tiny they stay hidden. Secret remembrances to each and every earthen-child. My daughter sleeps while I sip memories - “Before I formed you..” The coyotes howl together in the distance, and I think of all the ways to know the not-yet-born.

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