The Meaning of Tea

I decided this year that my birthday party needed to be a Mad Tea Unbirthday Party. This idea really has nothing to do with the new Tim Burton Alice, though it has been helpful in finding Alice themed merchandise. On my quest for tea cups, I found a lovely antiques store in Buda, Texas called, appropriately, “The Looking Glass,” which, appropriately, sells some Alice stuffins and all sorts of tea related products. I’d never stopped to consider why tea, what is its mystique?

There is a book, which I haven’t read, by Phil Cousineau called The Meaning of Tea. I follow the Twitter, and every now and then I’m stumped as to how to have a zen moment from tea. Today’s shopping excursion answered that question for me. Right now, we’re in that annoying transition phase between summer and full-blown fall. That autumn crispness is in the air, but the temperature hasn’t caught up yet. There’s something about this particular season that causes me to want to reach for the tea cup instead of the coffee cup. There’s also something about having a bunch of people over for cakes and finger sandwiches and tea, rather than coffee.

So, I came away from the shopping experience with a tea for one Alice in Wonderland set and an Alice tiered serving set. Having a tea-for-one set makes me want to drink tea, and sit outside on my porch with a good book or my laptop either reading or writing, but not reading or writing e-mails. Something about a cup of tea is inspiring, whereas a cup of coffee is functional – it’s what you drink to get through a deadline or ready for an exam. So, with my tea-for-one set in hand, I’m ready for tomorrow’s big dissertation private launch party. But almost more importantly, one month from today, as I pass out candies to local trick-or-treaters, I’ll be outlining this years NaNoWriMo novel project and, hopefully, with tea at my side, I will finish this year’s book.

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