Tea, Chocolate, Music, and Baseball
It seems like a long time since I have written anything for the blog. We have been very busy finishing our ordering for this years teas. Summer is ending even though the signs for that are different here in Tucson than places that actually have seasons. One of the ways we know is that school starts up again. Another sign is that Lindsey comes back to the our teahouse. During the non-summer she comes everyday when her kids are in school. The reason she is gone in the summer is because she spends the summer in France and has gone every year since we’ve know her. It is always great to see her because we know the Tucson summer is ending. Of course summer doesn’t end in the real since until after Halloween when the weather noticeably cools.
This year Lindsey brought us some chocolate, four cubes about the size of sugar cubes, in a small gold box, from a famous chocolate maker in Paris. I can tell you those little cubes of chocolate were spectacular. They had such wonderfully complicated nuances in taste. I can tell you that is what we live for here at Seven Cups. Those nuances are the experience of artistry for the senses. Those nuances don’t occur from happenstance but only from the conscious creativity of the artist. This is true tea, wine, food, in this case chocolate, and are not easily identified or analyzed by the person having the experience. It is like trying to identify the individual pieces of music being played by a symphony.
I recently saw a tv program that talked about the scientific activity mapping of the brain that occurs by both the musician and the listener while experience music. It is especially interesting was all areas of the brain were active, including the pleasure areas, and that the physical brain growth by individuals deeply involved in music was significant and measurable. I wonder if that is true also for the artist and appreciator of a great chocolate or a great tea.
I think it would be interesting to look at the activity and physical growth of brains of artists and the people that were moved by appreciating their art. Some of the happiest most focused people that I have ever met have been tea makers, the ones that do really great tea. They are never bored with their tea even though that is the life long focus of their attention. I asked one oolong maker who was in his seventies and a genius at oolong making, why he had dedicated his life to this one varietal of tea. He told me that he could never understand the tea completely. I interpreted that to mean the the experience of the oolong tea always had some mystery that he could never completely identify.
I’m thinking that my experience with tea has got a lot more going on than just it tastes good. I hope that it is because it is engaging on a deeper level. I am always getting surprised by something new in the cup that gets a wow out of me. I can tell you that I have had many cups.
I have also been to many baseball games. I was with one with my youngest son Julian the other night. We were watching the game and a whiff of an evening breeze hit me that was a couple of degrees cooler, suggesting, like Lindsey ‘s appearance in the teahouse, that summer was ending. I noticed in that moment how bright the colors were, and how beautiful the players were gliding about the field.
Ok, so where am I going with all of this? Well what connects it all together for me is the extraordinary conscious awareness that comes to me when there is a nuance in an experience that I am having that is unexpected. It is as if that tiny surprise wakes up all the parts of my brain that have been at rest. The Lindsey’s Paris chocolate did that, as did the breeze at the ballgame, as did the music that I’m listening to, and of course, the taste of the Da Hong Pao I just brewed for myself. It all makes me feel more alive, and at my age, that’s a valuable thing.