It’s a cold, wet, dark night and I feel a kind of cold that no amount of adjusting the central heating will answer. There’s something primitive about our response to fire, it speaks to long ago pagan roots, whispering of security, comfort, light and more. This evening I’ll light a fire and shall certainly burn some candles too. For a number of years I lived with only candles (2 to get changed by, 3 to read with & 5 for guests) and I did not suffer. Tonight the warmth will reach deep inside and I’ll lose myself in the dance of the flames.
(Photo from an article about the high cost of heating for pensioners and others, follow link provided for more information.)
Algy sat on the rocks by the side of the loch and thought of Stephanie and her family. As the light streamed through the clouds onto the water, he sang this poem by Goethe for her, in its beautiful Lieder setting by Franz Schubert:
Des Menschen Seele Gleicht dem Wasser: Vom Himmel kommt es, Zum Himmel steigt es, Und wieder nieder Zur Erde muß es, Ewig wechselnd.
Man’s soul Is like water: From Heaven it comes, To Heaven it rises, And down again To Earth it must descend, Constantly fluctuating.
Once again Algy you’ve touched my heart. I love this photo and yes, that’s just exactly where I’d sit and where I’d like to sit when I come home some day. These long hard days will pass, the sun will shine brighter through the clouds and then, one day, I will sit there and feel its warmth and enjoy the warmth of our friendship too. Thank you Algy and most beloved friends - Goethe even inadequately translated, does say it so well.
Today Algy watched the evening sun sink down and thought especially of his friend Stephanie, who is watching a final sunset, of Shannon, who so recently feared that a sun was setting but found a new day dawning after all, and of his other Tumblr friends who are facing grave challenges and loss. Algy hopes that all those who are walking through the valley of the shadow of death will be able to find renewed strength and comfort, and he sends extra fluffy hugs to them all xx
Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting: The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star, Hath had elsewhere its setting, And cometh from afar:
I’ve had rather an epic week with a court case to prepare for and a hospital visit for my father which resulted in some very bad news. In the meantime, life continues its hurried pace, unabated. I had arranged a guest blogger, in view of what promised to be a demanding week but he pulled out at the last minute. I’m feeling overwhelmed, trying to keep my head and not be dragged under. Possibly the image is more than the prevalent mood, but the drama of it resonates. At times like this, I’ve noticed how I savour my cup of hot tea warmth, looking at the raindrop jewels clinging to the bare branches of trees - the small pleasures are not small and life goes on, there’s something of comfort in that.
(Painting “Miranda, The Tempest,” 1916, by John William Waterhouse, click on link here for source.)
It’s a dull, coolish sort of day. The sky is dominated by grey, the air has chilled sufficiently to have me putting the heat on last night. Now my favourite hot beverage comes into its own - a cup of tea. When I moved to Canada there were some substantial adjustments to be made; adapting to driving on the other side of the road, different social behaviour, calculating tax on goods and significantly, profoundly different tea tastes. This is a coffee culture, a coffee and a doughnut to go sort of world. It’s the small things that unnerve us. We take comfort from little pieces of familiarity, touch stones that lets us know we’re okay amidst a changed landscape.
After extensive sampling and research I was in despair. What masqueraded as tea here was, as Michael Palin said in the Raymond Briggs book on tape, “The Man, “just mimsy wee wee.” I just couldn’t be doing with it. Even searching for an appropriate image for this post was challenging, googling ‘tea’ or even ‘mug of tea,’ produces something pale residing in a dainty cup and saucer…. Then I remembered what we used to call the type of tea we like to drink, namely, ‘builders tea.’ It’s always in a mug, strong, dark and full of tannin with a spot of milk, and is so named because it’s what you give builders (contractors). The mug is important too. I prefer ceramic not china (get’s too hot and cools quickly, can’t wrap your hands round it), with a handle that at least two fingers can easily fit through.
It probably seems irrelevant but for me, tea is comfort, warmth and the familiar, it’s time to stop and chat or quietly let your mind wander, the calm in the storm, the lift when flat and I’d give up a lot but not tea. It’s the beginning and ending of my days, with a cup of tea in hand I always know where I am.
Thanks to ‘neverenoughtea’ for an inspiring url and for other souls in Canadian tea purgatory - don’t be despondent. There’s Dilmah, available in most supermarkets here. It’s robust, full of personality and was a lifepreserver for the tea loving me.
"The next year the (home) ‘sickness’ hit with a vengeance and interestingly, it also corresponded with my whole family being physically ill, one and off."…"I became a little bit ridiculous, hanging on to every shortbread tin with a west highland terrier or some tartan on it, clung to every Scottish word and tradition and fortunately, tartan trousers would have looked terrible on me or maybe I would have worn them too. In some deep way, I fought being here even though I’d chosen to do so."
In most settings, people use small talk as a way of relaxing into a new relationship, and only once they’re comfortable do they connect more seriously. Sensitive people seem to do the reverse. They ‘enjoy small talk only after they’ve gone deep,’ says Strickland. ‘When sensitive people are in environments that nurture their authenticity, they laugh and chitchat just as much as anyone else.’
Today I’m sending a hug out to my friends, one or two in particular. For the one in Europe missing her friends and family, this is for you. You have to get through the hard outer shell to get to the heart of your trip and the fun you’re going to have. For my friend lying on the couch feeling poorly, I send you this. May your recovery be swift and your consolations many. I watch “The Importance of Being Earnest,” when I’m not well, it usually lifts my spirits. For those already away or going away and not feeling so sure, this is also for you. Whether it be an internship in another state or foreign and distant Nederland, I send you this hug and my best wishes that it’s amazing.
Wherein, I attempt to put the world to rights infused with nothing but a strong cup of tea. A text based blog with a rich selection of social commentary, a generous pinch of Skye, plenty of dialogue with a hint of travel, particularly anything that takes one outside the box.