Editor’s Note: Remember the good old days of blogging? We do. Quite a few writers and editors who have passed through Tweetspeak’s doors (or are still here) first began as personal bloggers. Many of these writers have let their blogs go dormant, changed directions towards a professional aim, or deleted their blogs altogether. So, there’s a whole stack of intriguing, inspiring, sometimes humorous material that’s just sitting in the dark. The Life Notes column is dedicated to bringing that material to light. Because, after all, each of us comes from the stories that made us. And these stories often shine in the retelling.
An Ann Kroeker blog post, November 11, 2011
Tea is Necessary
I was tired, so I made tea.
Though I often crave caffeine, I can only tolerate it until noon, when I must stop drinking it or risk lying awake until two in the morning. Fortunately, I glanced at the clock on the stove: just after 10:00 a.m. I had time.
I spooned some caffeinated black tea into a paper loose tea filter, lowered it into the deep pottery mug, poured steaming water from the electric tea kettle over it and let it steep while I answered a few e-mails. A few minutes later, I returned to the kitchen and drizzled some honey into the mug and stirred. Breathing in the aroma, I knew this would keep me going for a few hours.
Both physical and virtual paperwork awaited, as well as phone calls and e-mails. Later in the day, an errand or two. The to-do’s of the day were flowing like the steady stream of a kitchen faucet—not as forceful as a fire hydrant nor as annoying as a drip, but I had to pay attention or the sink would fill and overflow, figuratively speaking.
So I kept at it, task after task, decision after decision, e-mail after e-mail, errand after errand. These things weren’t overwhelming; just steady. Somewhere in the afternoon, though, I needed a pause.
My cup, as it were, was empty.
I’d drained my literal cup of tea, and I had drained my figurative cup, my very self, of rest.
Life needs pauses.
I’d scheduled tire rotation and a medical test for my daughter, shopped for groceries and filled the gas tank; I printed off papers for my daughters’ schoolwork and agreed to bake brownies for a church function.
But…a pause. I needed a pause.
Late in the afternoon I returned to the kitchen and opened the cabinet to stare at my boxes of tea. I saw some chai tea. Decaf. By then it was past 3:00 p.m., so I could only handle decaf.
Filled the tea kettle.
Instead of racing around the corner to my desk, I leaned against the counter while the water boiled.
How easy it would be to check my phone for e-mail while the water boiled.
But, no. I paused.
And when the electric kettle bell dinged, I lifted the plastic kettle from its base and poured hot water over the tea bag, watching the bag rise with the waterline, all the way to the top, before it was soggy enough to sink. I took hold of the tag and dipped it down and up several times then let it settle at the bottom.
I briefly considered carrying my drink to the desk, but changed my mind. Instead, I walked to the table and sat for a moment, both hands hugging the mug to warm my palms.
Tea, I decided, is necessary.
Tea, I realized, is a slow-down solution.
Tendrils of steam drifted up from the glimmering dark surface of the tea and dissipated.
I lifted the mug and blew across the top, making ripples.
Then I tilted the mug and the tea touched my lips.
Slowly, I sipped.