"Like the study of science and art, accounts of historical events can be intrinsically fascinating. But they have a wider significance. I believe that people are better able to chart their life course and make life decisions when they know how others have dealt with pressures and dilemmas---historically, contemporaneously, and in works of art. And only equipped with such understanding can we participate knowledgeably in contemporary discussions (and decisions) about the culpability of various individuals and countries in the Second World War. Only with such understanding can we ponder the responsibilty of human beings everywhere to counter current efforts at genocide in Rwanda and the former Yugoslavia to bring the perpetrators to justice."
"...we humans are the kinds of animals who learn chiefly by observing others---what they value, what they spurn, how they conduct themselves from day to day, and especially, what they do when they believe that no one is looking."
----Howard Gardner, from The Disciplined Mind, published in 1999

Friday, June 22, 2007

Simple Gifts; or, Excellent Birds, Part Two

When I bought a pound of rose tea at New Man Kam last week, I felt foolish as I watched the gentleman fill my order from the giant glass jar of tea leaves.


One pound of tea didn't seem so very much when I said it. One pound of tea seemed so very much as he continued to scoop out tea from the jar and fill a plastic bag with the leaves. Well, I said to myself, there's nothing to be done. I won't ask him to stop; that wouldn't be quite right. Well, I thought, I will figure something out.


Can I say, dear reader, that last week as I watched the bag fill, I thought, oh, too much.


Now, now as I hold that gaiwan that is Mme de Pompadour pink, that feels just right in the hand, the porcelain hot, the steam and the scent and the taste all floral and pink, all oaky and dark; sometimes images of sun and shade and wild roses looping their canes out of the funk of dark loam flash and fade as I close my eyes to take that first sip, now, now I think: just right.

7 comments:

The Artist formerly Known as Purpleworms (!) said...

I almost gasped when I read the words a POUND of tea! (I'm in the process in throwing out tea that I have had for years, because it does not keep that well), ...so it is with relief that I read of your pleasure in the drinking and the recognition that you have purchased a good and goodly amount of something that is so pleasing

I have lots of neckties said...

...of course, if that pound still seems like too much, you can always give some to me!

When I was in Hong Kong years ago I developed quite a liking for the various teas I sampled in the restaurants where I ate. So much so that when I returned to the States I began raiding the stock of any local Oriental grocery store I could find for different teas.

Of all the ones I'd tried (and I tried quite a few), I always came back to jasmine as my favorite.

The Artist formerly Known as Purpleworms (!) said...

I'm dying to know how your presentation went! Did devotionals at the foot of the nut beetle for you!

The Artist formerly Known as Purpleworms (!) said...

Someone sent me a most excellent and generous gift - thank you SO much - it arrived on a very difficult day when i needed just such a lift!

neroli said...

I'm glad!
Just another example of that timely magic!

I have lots of neckties said...

Speaking of gifts, I'm enjoying a brewed cup of your kindness and thoughtfulness as I write this. The hot cup is giving off a most pleasant and soothing aroma. I can tell why you would like this blend so much!

Thank you again.

neroli said...

You are most welcome, Lots Of!