Sixth tea ceremony of 2020. I see IG posts of tea prepared outside, not matcha, but other steeped teas. The photos make it look so inviting. I was curious about how that feels, making tea outside, in the cold. Could it even work with a Japanese tea ceremony? Would the water stay hot enough? Could it be comfortable for guests? Would it be as enjoyable as a bowl of matcha in a warm space? I decided to try it.
Small gazebo at the Northport Marina
Obon sou, a simple tray ceremony
Tea: Matcha Delight
Sweets: candied quince made by Susan Odom of Hillside Homestead, from fruit trees of Rose H.
Enso art by Moira
Tulip from Doug, holly and false cedar from our yard
Moira agreed to be the guest. (and photographer!) She runs in this weather regularly and knows how to prepare for cold weather activities. She reminded me, “No such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate attire choices!” Of course she came properly dressed for 25 degrees. Right ceremony for right guest!
So much of Japanese tea ceremony is about preparation. Maybe not for others, but outdoor temae in below freezing weather seemed a bit extreme to me. What to wear that will keep me warm, but allow free movement, and be appropriate for ceremony? (Answer: layering, thick leggings, two turtlenecks, and a hat!) How to keep the water hot? (Answer: Stanley thermos.) How to set up materials? (Answer: like any other ceremony.) It surprised me how excited I was to try this for the first time!
The gazebo seats were covered in ice. The open center space, filled with frozen sand. The wind blew over the whisk more than once. My fingers were numb. I forgot to take off my hat. The marina generator rattled loudly. Every once in a while, we could hear the waves slapping against the rocks.
Power and beauty in the bay, quiet in the tea.
As we drank the last sip, the sun broke through and for a moment we were warmed and refreshed. Thank you, Moira, Susan, and Rose.