97

A tasting note, wrapped in a story, wrapped in an event.
This may be my most difficult review to date. It will be off the cuff, unbridled and from my heart. If this is not to the liking of everyone, there are other reviews and no need to read mine. I’m not preaching my religion either, but it is who I am and I’m not ashamed.

How do I write a review when there has been another tragic death on a day when we are still mourning the losses of 9-11?
In my own lifetime the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Vietnam and Desert Storm, bombings and kidnappings of U.S. Citizens. I’ve learned that you can’t ever let the bad things that happen in life win by turning you into a hateful, bitter person.
Life goes on. There’s always good in the World even though good news doesn’t get much time in the Press.

This Tea and My Story

The Oolong tea leaves were so large (and almost black) that I held them in my hand, juggling an amount that was almost 1.5TB. That was just enough for the Finum tea basket and mug method of brewing.

The steepings are so short, 3-5 seconds and increasing 1 second each steep, making sure to control the timing.

I brought my electric kettle filled with spring water to the boil, rinsed the leaves once and began the first steep.
The aroma of the wet leaves were like roasted short ribs with caramelization on them and everything! (Now of course I wanted some ribs…they smelled so good!)

I put my nose down close to the liquor and inhaled.
The scent was like incense in an old Church when the wood has been permeated with candle soot and resinous incense.

Then I took a sip of tea, curious about how this incense scent would taste.
The flavor was sweet deep mango and floral incense (but not bitter), vibrating in my mouth with intensity. I was having a difficult time pinning down the floral notes because the complexity and power of the tea was distracting me. There was great robust flavor and smooth softness at the same time, then a cool camphor-like vapor, arriving after some time of contemplation.
The scent and flavor made me think of the All Night Vigil during Holy Week (Easter). I signed up to read a portion of the Psalms usually at 1 or 2AM.
I entered the Church which was completely dark other than 1 Vigil light on the Altar and 1 light on the Readers Stand. The whole Church was filled (even petals on the floor) with the scent of roses, gardenias, carnations, laurel and flowers from services held every day during Holy Week. And of course INCENSE! (All incense is natural such as the one this tea reminds me of, ancient Ethiopian Frankincense…which is in little light pinkish pellets.)

As I would stand reading the Psalms until the next person arrived, all was quiet and intensely fragrant. My mouth was reading out loud, but my heart was praying. It was tranquil and beautiful.

When I was drinking this tea through several additional steepings, and began to taste a little of the cinnamon flavor (not sweet cinnamon or bitter but the dry kind), fuzzy textured fruit and floral honey, I could not stop remembering standing in the church smelling the incense and flowers.

The Vigil wasn’t mournful. It was hopeful.
With every tragic event that has happened and will continue to happen in the world, the choice we each have is to be angry, seek revenge, be depressed or, be wise and love each other in the face of it all.

I pray that we are wise enough to love each other.

http://flic.kr/p/dadfAs (Here you can see some of the flowers and on the floor)
http://flic.kr/p/cqY2rG (the outside of the Church)
http://youtu.be/iCgIswP7jPY Music also

Azzrian

Lovely.

Bonnie

Thank you Azzrian. I was hoping I didn’t upset anyone.

wiicked

how can you upset anyone when it is your opinion and your life
i thought it was great

Indigobloom

no need to apologize for being YOU Bonnie! I love your stories, this one included.
May all those who passed rest in peace

Terri HarpLady

A beautiful review, thank you Bonnie!

tigress_al

Great story and beautiful church

Bonnie

This Church is St. Peter and Paul in Ben Lomond,CA in the Redwoods.

Terri HarpLady

Bonnie, I’m listening to the Music link while I drink my first cup of the day, a blend I make to support my immune system: 1 Qt of water, bring to simmer with dried astragulus root (from Cheryl’s Herbs) & thinly sliced fresh ginger root. Don’t ask how much of either, a couple TBLS or so. Simmer covered gently for awhile…15 minutes or so? Remove from heat, add a handful of fresh lemon balm (from my herb garden), a few thin strips of lemon peel, & a spoon of local honey to taste (Cheryl’s carries an amazingly awesome local honey). Drink throughout the day. Thanks for the beautiful music, & the photos as well. :)

Autumn Hearth

The tea and your memories of the vigil, the church and those lost are all beautiful! Thank you for sharing that part of who you are, your spirituality is wonderful and that church is gorgeous! Is it Greek Orthodox as well? I grew up Roman Catholic in suburb and everything was dark and dull and somber, none of the beautiful colors and art and culture that I see in both the photos and picture in your words. I know there was occasionally incense at mass though I didn’t care for it as a child, but roses? Engage all the senses! I value all religious/spiritual paths (I also grew up a Unitarian Universalist) and love the diversity here!

Autumn Hearth

:) it did indeed, especially when the people started moving. Jim also gave me a little lesson in Orthodoxy in a PM. The Alaskan Native American Orthodox services sound amazing! Love cultural preservation though the video did remind me a bit of a documentary we watched in my high school Global Studies course where Islamic missionaries went to a remote Northern African tribe and told them the tree spirits they worshiped were the devil, that made me very sad as I also believe that the Divine expresses itself through nature, my husband finds himself much in line with Japanese Shintoism, but that is neither here nor there. Thank you for sharing your tradition!

Jim Marks

Keep in mind that Orthodoxy has been in Northern and Eastern Africa for two millennia! The patriarchate of Alexandria is one of the original five (Jerusalem, Rome, Antioch, Alexandria and then Constantinople). The Coptic and Ethiopian expressions of Orthodoxy are some of the oldest and most carefully preserved in the world.

One reason why Orthodox traditions throughout the world manifest so differently from one another is that rather than going to a place and saying “your faith is bad, let us tell you about a good faith”, Orthodox rather go and say “your faith is good, let us tell you about what we know and see where they match up”.

There is a fine line between panentheism (the divine is in everything) and pantheism (the divine is everything). Animism (like Shinto) and other polytheistic systems stray a bit too far to one side to be entirely compatible, but if the understanding can be honed to come to understand that there is one divinity which is able to express and manifest itself in many forms (both through cultures and nature) then common ground can be found even with those who worship tree spirits. It is a subtle business which can take generations to achieve.

Bonnie

It’s Orthodox yes. Here in the U.S. we hear people refer to the church’s as Russian or Greek etc. because we don’t have an American Patriarch as yet (working on that) and immigrants brought their culture and sometimes Priests here from these different places (although Orthodoxy has been here in the U.S. over 200 years through Alaska). All but a few old ethnic Churches are in English and a mix of people just like you and I.

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Comments

Azzrian

Lovely.

Bonnie

Thank you Azzrian. I was hoping I didn’t upset anyone.

wiicked

how can you upset anyone when it is your opinion and your life
i thought it was great

Indigobloom

no need to apologize for being YOU Bonnie! I love your stories, this one included.
May all those who passed rest in peace

Terri HarpLady

A beautiful review, thank you Bonnie!

tigress_al

Great story and beautiful church

Bonnie

This Church is St. Peter and Paul in Ben Lomond,CA in the Redwoods.

Terri HarpLady

Bonnie, I’m listening to the Music link while I drink my first cup of the day, a blend I make to support my immune system: 1 Qt of water, bring to simmer with dried astragulus root (from Cheryl’s Herbs) & thinly sliced fresh ginger root. Don’t ask how much of either, a couple TBLS or so. Simmer covered gently for awhile…15 minutes or so? Remove from heat, add a handful of fresh lemon balm (from my herb garden), a few thin strips of lemon peel, & a spoon of local honey to taste (Cheryl’s carries an amazingly awesome local honey). Drink throughout the day. Thanks for the beautiful music, & the photos as well. :)

Autumn Hearth

The tea and your memories of the vigil, the church and those lost are all beautiful! Thank you for sharing that part of who you are, your spirituality is wonderful and that church is gorgeous! Is it Greek Orthodox as well? I grew up Roman Catholic in suburb and everything was dark and dull and somber, none of the beautiful colors and art and culture that I see in both the photos and picture in your words. I know there was occasionally incense at mass though I didn’t care for it as a child, but roses? Engage all the senses! I value all religious/spiritual paths (I also grew up a Unitarian Universalist) and love the diversity here!

Autumn Hearth

:) it did indeed, especially when the people started moving. Jim also gave me a little lesson in Orthodoxy in a PM. The Alaskan Native American Orthodox services sound amazing! Love cultural preservation though the video did remind me a bit of a documentary we watched in my high school Global Studies course where Islamic missionaries went to a remote Northern African tribe and told them the tree spirits they worshiped were the devil, that made me very sad as I also believe that the Divine expresses itself through nature, my husband finds himself much in line with Japanese Shintoism, but that is neither here nor there. Thank you for sharing your tradition!

Jim Marks

Keep in mind that Orthodoxy has been in Northern and Eastern Africa for two millennia! The patriarchate of Alexandria is one of the original five (Jerusalem, Rome, Antioch, Alexandria and then Constantinople). The Coptic and Ethiopian expressions of Orthodoxy are some of the oldest and most carefully preserved in the world.

One reason why Orthodox traditions throughout the world manifest so differently from one another is that rather than going to a place and saying “your faith is bad, let us tell you about a good faith”, Orthodox rather go and say “your faith is good, let us tell you about what we know and see where they match up”.

There is a fine line between panentheism (the divine is in everything) and pantheism (the divine is everything). Animism (like Shinto) and other polytheistic systems stray a bit too far to one side to be entirely compatible, but if the understanding can be honed to come to understand that there is one divinity which is able to express and manifest itself in many forms (both through cultures and nature) then common ground can be found even with those who worship tree spirits. It is a subtle business which can take generations to achieve.

Bonnie

It’s Orthodox yes. Here in the U.S. we hear people refer to the church’s as Russian or Greek etc. because we don’t have an American Patriarch as yet (working on that) and immigrants brought their culture and sometimes Priests here from these different places (although Orthodoxy has been here in the U.S. over 200 years through Alaska). All but a few old ethnic Churches are in English and a mix of people just like you and I.

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Colorado Grandma
http://www.teaandincense.com
Grandmother to 3 teenaged girls and 5 young boys. (we all drink tea!) I began teatime in the Summer over 30 years ago when my children were little. We took a break from play for tea and snacks every day. My children loved tea time.
There are several tea houses close to my home and a Tea Festival in Boulder. Fort Collins is a bit of a foodie town. We brew lots of Beer (Fat Tire is one brand) and have several Spice Shops (Savory was one featured on Food Network).
Colorado State University is a mile from my home and the Rocky Mountains begin to climb at the end of my street. The climate is semi-arid with LOTS OF SUN AT 5000 feet. (Heavy Winter snows start in higher elevations). Living my whole life in Northern California (Silicon Valley) I have to admit that I LOVE IT HERE!!!
I attend a wonderful Greek Orthodox Church and enjoy cooking ethnic foods (all kinds). I am disabled with Migraines and Fibromyalgia.
My family is Bi-racial (African-American, Scots) and Bi-cultural, (Peru, Cyprus, France, Mexico, Native American)
I’ve worked at a Winery, was a System Analyst, in telecom, been an Athlete and Coach, Artist, Vista Volunteer. Love healthy cooking (and delicious food!). Love to travel and have been to Italy, Greece, Turkey, Malta, Peru, Croatia, Canada, Mexico, Hawaii, Alaska

Location

Fort Collins,Colorado

Website

http://www.teaandincense.com

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