Our Lady of the Flowering Teas
I am ready for an incomparable experience, a Divine Tea that Blooms. No jasmine pearl this, no hongcha cone. Green orb streaked with promise of new hope.
Even here, in the lair of Johnny Teacup, smelling the exhaust of cars and yellowing newsprint, water pours on this orb in its prison of glass. Intimacy evolves its alchemy. A solemn marble stairway leads to corridors covered with red carpets, upon which the tea steeps noiselessly. The blooming of the tea shocks me, and I fall swooning to the ground, head full of delicious songs of passion and pain.
The tea is still brewing, and now I am afraid. The promise of a delicious and delightful brew pursues me and I pursue it patiently. The blooms are clearly bent on destroying me.
Didn’t I see, on my way to the tea shop, seven tea-picking monkeys resting weary from their fierce impossible pickings, questioning the stars through seven pots of teabag tea as they sat around a table that perhaps turned; then, a sun bear on a bicycle who was carrying a message from god to god, holding between his teeth, by the metal handle, a round, lighted tea kettle, the flame of which, as it reddened his face, also heated the water? So pure a marvel that he was unaware of being a marvel. I turn myself from this fantasy of bear and monkeys to the tea at hand, it has bloomed, these underwater fireworks threaten to torch my love for all other teas and leave me bereft and silent…
On me, under me, with my mouth pressed to the cup of blooming tea, I sing to it uncouth songs that move and shiver through its lovely leaves. To no avail: the flavor is gone, if it were ever there.
Slowly but surely they must have stripped this tea of every kind of flavor, and so made a saint of it.