Winter Spices

Full disclosure: we haven’t had the David’s Tea sample today. It’s a deliberate choice. The tea is Santa’s Secret, and it’s an Advent staple and also a black tea we thoroughly enjoy. But we have cramp. Over the years we’ve learned all sorts of bizarre things trying to combat the pain that comes with cramp. Bananas are our friends. Chocolate, the cure-all our friends swear by, is not. Neither is milk. And neither for the first 48 hours is anything caffeinated. So, black tea was a non-starter.

As first days go, this wasn’t a terrible one. We got 1600 words done for work and – be stunned and amazed – they Flying Geese Quilt is finished! With days to go! Well, okay, we need to find a suitable green ribbon to turn it into a wall hanging, but the thing is quilted and bound off.

All that to say, we could probably have risked Santa’s Secret, but not even for you lovely people did we feel like jeopardising our state of bearable discomfort and turning it into acute pain. Also, because it’s a tea we enjoy, we’d rather hold off on it until we can enjoy it. And since we are a black tea for breakfast kind of person, chances are we’ll still get to it before Christmas.

But the German tea is not. It’s a herbal chai blend called Space Cookie, and it smells divine. There’s lots of spices mixed in; fennel, ginger, cinnamon….Even pouring out early it’s a warm, fiery drink and we love it. It’s particularly lovely after a day of no tea.

The fennel is particularly pronounced, even this early in the steeping. We’re sipping and thinking that left too long this could go bitter quickly, but the cup hasn’t yet.

As we sip this we’re sifting through poem categories and thinking how strange some of these are. Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening is filed under ‘The Blizard of the Self.’ We hate to quibble with the Poetry Foundation, but that sounds much more dramatic than the still-small-voice-of-calm epiphany we read in that poem.

But here’s a poem we think you’ll like, however it’s catagorized.

A Winter Bluejay
Sara Teasedale

Crisply the bright snow whispered,
Crunching beneath our feet;
Behind us as we walked along the parkway,
Our shadows danced,
Fantastic shapes in vivid blue.
Across the lake the skaters
Flew to and fro,
With sharp turns weaving
A frail invisible net.
In ecstasy the earth
Drank the silver sunlight;
In ecstasy the skaters
Drank the wine of speed;
In ecstasy we laughed
Drinking the wine of love.
Had not the music of our joy
Sounded its highest note?
But no,
For suddenly, with lifted eyes you said,
“Oh look!”
There, on the black bough of a snow flecked maple,
Fearless and gay as our love,
A bluejay cocked his crest!
Oh who can tell the range of joy
Or set the bounds of beauty?

Whenever we think of bluejays we think of Old Mother Westwind and how they got their distinctive cry. But we also love spotting that bit of overwintering blue against the snow.

Oh, and that second cup of Space Cookie balances perfectly. We recant. Nothing too-strong about it. Now if you’ll forgive us, we’re going to finish off the cup, and make a date with a hot water bottle. See you tomorrow.

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