Poolside

Eighth tea ceremony of 2020.

Before heading to Florida for vacation, I anticipated a week of daily tea on the beach, all sunshine and zen, an occasional seagull sound and gentle waves. There was plenty of sun and zen, but also powerful wind, blowing sand, huge waves, and hunting seabirds. We did find an Asian grocer not too far away, who sold daifuku for tea sweets. Most everything seemed to fall nicely into my leisurely schedule, except for tea ceremony.

Once again, I thought doing ceremony outside would be so lovely. Each day, as I sucked up sun on the windy beach I mentally practiced tea. And every time, in my mind, I saw matcha on the chashaku blowing away in a mixture of sand and sea mist. I saw the chasen rolling down the beach like a tumbleweed on the plains. I pictured sand grit on the tray, in the bowl, in my hair…. I just couldn’t summon the energy to tackle all these obstacles in my mind or in reality. Renewed respect for those who do tea in nature.

Then, after we spent a day next to the pool, because the wind and sand were painful sea-side, I needed (as in I missed it, I craved it, I couldn’t go another day without it) to do tea. I pulled together the pieces of obon presentation that the condo supplied and the few I brought – and assembled a makeshift arrangement that would work poolside:

  • Tea – Matcha Serenity
  • Sweet – daifuku from local Asian grocer
  • Obon – dinner plate
  • Tetsubin – aluminum kettle
  • Coaster – cloth hot pad
  • Kensui – mixing bowl
  • Chawan – tea mug
  • Chashaku – metal measuring spoon
  • Mat – beach towel

The entire condo building was being prepped for a new coat of paint. The painters were on the other side for the morning. The pool was empty except for us. No flowers, no scroll – sparkling water and sunshine would have to do! I had thought I might put more effort into these details, but when the opportunity to do tea arose, the window was small and the urgency felt almost overwhelming.

Once again, Doug supported the process. He cleared space in the narrow area around the pool. He received tea and took photos. And while I always want to make my guest the best bowl of tea possible, I could also feel myself dropping into that deep calm and zen presence that makes tea practice so addictive. So, in doing tea for him, I was clearly doing tea for me. So much love for my enabler.

With gratitude,

Michelle

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