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Posts tagged ‘tea’

The definition of home

I lived over half a century in the same state, and then felt the overwhelming urge to move halfway across the country and replant myself in a state I had visited only once. This has caused me to redefine what home really is. Is it a place where we grow up and more times than not settle our adult lives in? Or is it a place that calls to our very soul and says, “come”? I have come to believe in the latter, as I find I am in love with my “new” home of Portland, Oregon. Oh, I enjoyed Minnesota all those years; I wasn’t miserable. But something in me felt a pull, a resonating as I traveled to Oregon in 2010 for a retreat, in a place that was actually outside of Portland. But I remember as I sat in the airport, waiting to board the plane to Portland, I heard a voice in my head saying, “I’m going home!” And as soon as I set foot in Oregon, I knew that one day, this place would be my home. It is a love affair here that I have with my pretty city. Every day I wake and say to myself, “another beautiful day in Portland!”, not mattering one bit if it is a grey day or a bright sun filled day. And I find other “homes” within my home. There are the two coffeehouses that I love more than all the others; one that plays the music I love and has the best caramel to add luscious flavor to my coffee, and the other one that makes the best marionberry bars and has the quaint outdoor patio that is almost meditative on a lovely Portland morning. I have also found the teashop that is akin to being in my home, with comfy over-sized chairs to sit in and the most delicious teas, both hot and cold. And then there are my two favorite parks; one that is close to my home and has gently sloping hills covered with massive, older trees that provide welcome shade on a summer day, and the other park which has an area of native grasses and plants, along with a pond full of playful fish and lovely lily pads. As I get ready to board the train in a few hours that will take me to family and friends I haven’t seen for six months, I say to myself that I am going back to Minnesota, but I will be coming home to Portland.

Bye bye coffee, Hello tea!

The city I live in, Portland, Oregon, is most definitely a coffee city. There is a Starbucks on every corner(maybe a bit of an exaggeration), but coffeehouses abound, with so many varieties of coffee to be drank. So one might find it a bit odd that after living here for a couple of months, I found myself giving up my morning routine of half a pot of coffee to start the day, when I had the coffee world at my disposal. But it all came to a head one day in Trader Joe’s. I was out of coffee and had to purchase some for the next morning’s pot – I had never gone without! But I slowly became frustrated as I searched for ground coffee, not whole bean, which seemed to be all they had to offer. I finally found a meager offering of overpriced ground coffee. And as I stood there, overwhelmed at the price, I felt like an addict spending my last few dollars on a fix – enough! I was ready to break out of my coffee prison. So the next morning I fixed myself a cup of tea, my new morning friend. There should be enough caffeine in tea to keep my body happy I thought. I was so wrong! Caffeine withdrawal was not pretty – but I made it through a week of headaches, constant naps to stave off the tiredness and voila! I woke one morning and felt alive and refreshed as I sipped my tea – no longer a coffee addict! Why not drink decaf, you ask? Because I have yet to find decaffeinated coffee that tastes right. And entering the world of tea has opened me up to the heavenly tastes of loose leaf tea, at the tea shop in my neighborhood that has both magical tasting teas and an ambiance that feels like my own cozy home.  One day though, I found myself craving a cup of coffee, and missing the atmosphere of my nearby coffeehouse. One cup can’t hurt, can it? So off I went, books in hand to read as I dipped my toes in the waters of coffee again, and I allowed myself the treat of a shot of caramel in my coffee – a reward for having given it up in the first place. Oh my! My taste buds danced with the remembrance of coffee, but my body reacted with a shaky, jittery feeling as the caffeine flooded the places it used to reside in. Coffee is like someone who is trying way to hard to be your friend, when all I really want is the quiet gentleness of tea. Soft, soothing tea – everything about it is so smooth and easy, not loud and boisterous. But despite the tender seduction of tea, every now and then, I journey to the coffeehouse for a cup of house coffee with a shot of caramel – and just wait for that caffeine buzz.

A Morning Melody

 

I waken so slowly

To this new day

Lying still as a church

When it starts to pray

 

Light tiptoes in

Trying not to disturb

Birds also awaken

Their song to be heard

 

Unwrapping myself

From soft, cotton sheets

Ambling to the stovetop

The teapot and I greet

 

I pour water in

And turn on the flame

Then wait for the moment

When it sings out my name

 

I hear a soft hiss

Then the whistle sets in

A song so familiar

Let this new day begin

 

 

 

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