As stated in a previous note, this a meditative tea.
I’m back from China. Rather than give a complete synopsis in one go, blurbs will find their way into future notes should a tea elicit the desire to write of my experiences. Here I will start with the end of my trip, as with all endings come beginnings.
On the first leg home, the China Southern flight attendant placed some floppy “old man brown” slippers on my first-class feet in Wuhan. As my ankles swelled by the hour, I figured why put my shoes back on. Those ugly, oversized slippers whisked with me through perfumed boutique shops in the Hong Kong airport, swept the (clean) floors of Taipei Taoyuan, shuffled me through U.S. customs in San Francisco and tripped me up as I boarded the bus that brought me back home. Sunday night around midnight I finally made it through the front door in a state of time-travel delirium and searched for my old girl Sophia.
I found Sophia after settling down for a bit, only to lose her less than 24 hours later. Monday was the end of our 22-year companionship. She waited for me to come home from my journey and passed in the comfort of my arms in her favorite chair and blanket. Now she rests under the lemon tree with the other kids, to feed the fruits that bring us happiness. I will be able to see her live on through my bedroom’s back door while I sit with tea. And these stupid China Southern slippers will be worn until they fall apart – little reminders of over half my life, arguably the most formative of my years, spent with a little warm body that made biscuits on my chest, sea foam eyes that softly spoke “You are mine and I am yours” and a vocabulary that always let me know what was on her mind. My little nugget, my little shoulder cat. So many feelings.
So yes, with all endings come beginnings. The end of Sophia’s life – full of patience, tenacity, wisdom and love – will be mirrored in my slippered steps as I stumble forward into this dream of farming tea.
Love you, baby.