A Woman of Words

The words I was given
were condensed milk thickened on a stove,
sips of manzanilla to dream easy,
and a swish of the hips.

The words I was taught
were liberty and diversity,
and a dash of ambiguity, uncertainty,
yet always mixed with aspiration and hope.

The words that were shared
were a smoky salt kiss
with cream and chives,
big city pitter patter,
with old world curled up in the throat.

The words that I took
belong to forests across oceans,
real and imaginary,
flowing like waves across a floating world,
somehow reminding me
of that first sip of chamomile.

This poem is part of the Tuesday Platform for Imaginary Garden with Real Toads. It is also the fifth poem I was challenged to write as part of a Facebook game. 

In the Genes

I think I remember writing some time ago about my mom and our relationship

For those not familiar with My Little Pony:

My dad's comment after seeing Brave was, "They even got the hair right!"

I did mention I got to appreciate her more once I moved out of the house. I love her. She loves me. And the differences are much easier to deal with in half day visits and phone calls. Her idea of the great outdoors is a mall with trees in the food court? Fine by me. I'll head to the local nature center later.

So during one of our visits I start talking to her about Japanese tea ceremony. It really can be quite complex, all the forms to memorize, the Japanese language skills. And then there are the related arts of kimono wearing, calligraphy, incense, tool making. She starts to look a bit glazed when I go on about all this and I mention she should come to one of the ceremonies they have at Shofuso, the Japanese house in Philadelphia. I'd try to arrange taking on a role as an assistant for that day, fully decked out in a formal kimono. After she gets done laughing at the idea of seeing me dressed in a kimono, she says she might come out to one, but she isn't sure. Is green tea the only option? Can she add sugar to hers.

I think I managed not to outwardly cringe. Green tea served at a formal Japanese tea ceremony is whisked up directly from powdered tea leaves. There are lots of beautiful nuances of flavor between different brands, growing locations, harvest times; nuances you'd miss with adding anything else. Sugar is NEVER added and neither is milk. I told her maybe I'd make a batch for her informally at home just for her to try rather than take the time to drive into Philly.

So later that day, she's out with me while I'm running some errands and we get to the supermarket. My mom makes a beeline for the tea section. Perplexed, I follow her. She paces up and down our local Wegman's pretty impressive tea section until she finds what she wants - an inexpensive brand of Earl Grey tea. I give a her weird look as she proceeds to empty the shelf of it, looking a bit like Daffy Duck in a cave filled with gold.

"Uh, mom. That's not exactly hard to find tea. You can get it at any supermarket."

"It's not just any Earl Grey tea. It's MY brand of Earl Grey tea. And it tastes better than any of the weird loose stuff you have. I'm always running out of it."

She goes on to wax lovingly about the variations in Earl Grey and how this particular brand has just the right sort of blend none other can match. She's actually pretty knowledgeable about flavor profiles, and she definitely knows what she likes. My mom marches to the check out counter like she's Indiana Jones carrying a sacred relic back to a museum. And I realize, though we are pretty different, we both take our tea time seriously. Very, very seriously.

Song Choice: Let's Call the Whole Thing Off preformed by Harry Connick Jr.

Picture, Earl Grey Dragon, used with 
kind permission of the artist, Brian Kesinger. 
See more of his super cute, tea themed art at his etsy shop

This post is part of the Mad Tea Party 2015 blog hop hosted by  A Fanciful Twist. Follow the link to see more fun tea themed blog posts