Many people cannot afford the time or extra expense of a vacation right now. But we all need some rest, to be sure. Years ago, when I was traveling in Bali, some Balinese people asked "Why do you Americans take vacations? We don't have big vacations, but we have a small vacation everyday when we see our friends and make music, art or a meal together."
This got me thinking that it is important to take a small vacation each day, and having a daily tea ritual fits nicely into this logic. While I don't see tea friends in person everyday, I do think of them when I have my tea, as I have bought or received tea ware from some of them.
My wood bark display dish was a gift from Shiu Yuen Li, a Singaporean teacher of tea culture who lives in Taiwan; my tea tray comes from my friend, Shiuwen Tai, my gaiwan and serving pitcher from Roy Fong of Imperial Tea Court, aroma cups from friends at Pure Puerh, who brought them back to me from Taiwan, and tasting cups from Peter Luong of Red Blossom. The small ceramic figure of Lu Yu that graces my tea bench was a Christmas gift from my dear friend Norwood Pratt. So when I have my daily tea, I feel the presence of all these special tea friends as well.
I offer up a cup of tea and the scent of an aroma cup in thanks for all the gifts of life so generously given to me. And perhaps even more than tea, gratitude offers the release from care that we seek from a vacation.
If you don't have time to take an extended rest this summer, take your daily tea vacation....