“Day after day we live on the edge of time. Sun and moon go as they may. Heaven and Earth change freely. With each cup of tea, I experience the birth of the universe. With each sip a new beginning. If you ask me to explain, I need only invite you to drink tea.” – The Minister of Travel
Recently while heading to a coffee bar with my mom, we ran into another neighbour of ours, Suzanne. She was on her way to the “Four Seasons” gathering at Huguette’s – where four dear friends come together to speak French, eat delicious food and toast the season. What I love about this celebration is that each friend hosts a different season! It is always a delight to be invited to Huguette’s apartment, her home is filled with bright colour, well read books, candles and an always listening ear. Her decorated table, no matter the occasion, never fails to enhance an already magical atmosphere. What struck me as we spoke with Suzanne, was her comment, she had just shared a tea with a good friend, was on her way to spend time with other friends and because of these moments, her day was already something special.
As mom and I made our way to sit outside, with a fragrant coffee and creamy hot chocolate, I began to think about and remember special places where a tea or coffee enhanced a moment. Moments of stillness while reading or journal writing, moments spent with good friends or loved ones and those special days when you’re on the road!
When not travelling and oftentimes on a budget, Terry and I will take a thermos of tea out to Stanley Park, find a sunny bench and take in the view. We may find ourselves at a picnic table, on a bench at Beaver Lake or sitting on the benches at the lawn bowling site (one of the warmest spots during the cooler months!). This summer found us taking a mason jar of thirst-quenching iced tea out to the park with a slice of lime and my mom’s balcony grown mint.
In Mexico we had special places where we wrote in our journals and on those pages, there are many references to “Cafe San Angel” (Puerto Vallarta); this coffee bar was usually our first stop in the morning on a writing day and provided fuel for any walking, exploring and picture taking to come. On our most recent long stay in Puerto Vallarta, we were delighted to start a new habit, afternoon visits to a local coffee bar not far from our studio and just minutes from the beach!
Journal Excerpt: November 18, 2011
We are sitting in a coffee bar close to our studio, a coffee bar new to us, called Dee’s Coffee Company. Terry’s drinking coffee (which he says is good) and I’m drinking a delicious chai tea. Today we stopped at “Lay’s” (a Mexican grocery store) after a morning walk on the Malecon; on our walk we saw a small group of dolphins – the colour of the ocean was stunning, it’s a beautiful aquamarine/azure colour. We also checked for and sent some e-mails, it’s really great to hear from family and friends when we’re so far away.
When not chasing the printed word, I can be found on some sort of tea journey, either drinking chai tea out of a handmade cup at a San Francisco tea lounge while watching the sun set or drinking jasmine tea at the Japanese garden in Golden Gate Park. We’ve been known to grab a tea to go from funky tea shops in New York and Toronto or indulge in tea tastings in San Francisco, here in Vancouver or on Vancouver Island.
Card Note to Huguette: December 2003
Victoria, B.C. was magical, lots of fairy lights and beautiful store windows to gaze at. We discovered a wonderful tiny shop near Chinatown. The shop was filled with teapots. loose tea leaves in colourful tins, essential oils and other sensual goodies. We were served samples of hot, fragrant tea to sip on as we wandered. Heavenly!
Sharing or coming together over tea, coffee or a creamy hot chocolate can make an ordinary day special and a tea journey can do the same. With these words, I hope you enjoy having a taste or two, too!