A “cv” stans for “curriculum vitae”. Its basically a resume but for all the scholastic accolades you’ve apparently acquired. Initially, I felt pretty good about writing one; seeing my name with M.S., M.A. to the right of it, like a stamp of approval for all the hard work and hard times I went through.
As I completed it, though, I didn’t feel so good. My cv doesn’t look that impressive at all. I’m not technically published: I’ve written a thesis, a 98 page atrocity of short stories, titled “Toska”, that was dedicated and tries to pay homage to my favorite writer of all-time, Richard Yates. That’s it. No journals, no articles, no academic presentations. There’s no way one of those two community colleges looking for instructors are going to hire me. Granted, I’m fresh out of the gates but looking at my professors cv’s and their pages-upon-unfair-pages of publications and books written, it makes me feel like I’m not trying hard enough. Like I’m not good enough. Like I’ve got these little stamps of approval next to my name that don’t really mean anything.
So, I need a way out of my existential meltdown. Let’s steep.
My packets of Yu Lu Yan Cha Black, Hand Picked Autumn Tieguanyin, and Autumn Harvest Laoshan are just about depleted. This tea, though, is tucked away in the corner, behind my tins and some other packets. Even though I know where it is, I like to think its hidden. I should keep it in a bomb-proof safe.
I know I’m technically not supposed to rinse this tea but I’ve done it a few times just to smell the leaves as the water is absorbed into them. It’s so beautiful and calming. Chestnut, a roasty and nutty mellowness. Like peanut butter. Little bit of smoke scratches my nose.
My mom used to make me a “Skippy” when I would come home from grade school. It was a piece of bread with peanut butter on it. The name “Skippy” doesn’t make any sense now because she used Peter Pan peanut butter because I thought Skippy tasted too sweet. Regardless of that, the only thing that made a “Skippy” a “Skippy” and not just peanut butter on bread, was that she would use the knife after spreading the peanut butter to carve out a perfectly shaped heart into the tan spread. They tasted better that way, I used to tell her.
She stopped doing that when she started getting sad. Haven’t had one since. Thought I forgot about those days. This tea brought me there.
There’s something about watching leaves change from their dry leaf appearance during the infusion that fascinates me. With this tea, the color of the dry leaf is dark and light green and they trickle over the flat little shards like shadows. For some reason I think of ripped-up old book pages. There’s a barely noticeable gloss to each leaf if the light hits it right. Once they soak in the water, all that disappears and there are big, juicy, plump, tongue-like leaves with little ridges on the edges, the colors rich and deep, fleshy green and shades of dark.
I’ve had other Dragonwell teas before. The flavor of this one is a different breed. There’s that sweetness others have written about (that sticks to my lips), there’s that mineral quality, too (in the back of my throat). I get the contrast of a creamy, nutty spread on top of toast against the hint of a sharp, rock-like bite. I don’t mean that tastes like I’m licking a rock but there’s something “rocky” and “stony” about the aftertaste in the back of my throat that makes me think of rocks underneath a faint trickle of cold water. Maybe its because of the “family’s plot of land at the heights of Shi Feng” that it has this “mountainy” taste to it. I couldn’t tell you. I can tell you that its gorgeous and calming and I feel so, so much better now.
Is this the best Dragonwell I’ve ever had? It could be. I have a lot more tea to try and buy before I can sound like I know what I’m talking about.
And even if I don’t know everything there is to know about tea, even if I don’t have 200,000 posts and am not well-known in the tea world, even if I just drink tea and write about it on a website and don’t get published in some scholarly journal for snobby intellectuals…at least I’m using my time in this life trying my best at the thing I love.
That’s all we can do, right?