May 16th, 2005

abstract butterfly

peppermint longing

I love a cup of mint tea. I imagine sitting outdoors on a December day, when the sun makes warm days in cold months sometimes, with a cup of peppermint tea in hand. I don't drink hot tea that often--it's not a staple for me in the way that coffee serves as a staple for some people. Mint tea instead is that thing that I have in the way that others have a souffle for dessert. I love the way that mint emanates from the cup, so that, when I am most comfortable with people after a dinner filled with chat, the mint smoke makes a delightful scent-track through the muted adrenalin high I experience from good conversation and good company.

I love the ceremony of it, although my own rituals are far less than a "tea ceremony". I place the bag carefully in the little metal pot of hot water. The spoon tamps it down gently, so that the tea will suffice the water, and make the water into something else again. I like that if the tea is peppermint, then just a Lifesavers hint of flavor greets the first sip, while if the tea features rose hips, the barest taste of petal slips through the tongue. I find it curious that although I am consciously uncertain if in fact I have tasted rose hip tea, I know its taste as a familiar thing in my palette, and thus know I drank it at one time.

When I'm with people I enjoy, near the end of an evening I've loved, the tea rises all around me, and suffuses my mind with an understated joy. I feel waves of contentment, as if my pulse spreads that quiet sense of belonging to something unique to the moment, and fueled merely by words and good company. I can think of a solid set of such experiences--chaste pleasures of the most sublime intensity. They are all punctuated by a cup of mint tea.