Tea and Leaves

Tea and Leaves

I sit here at my writing desk looking out over the fields now yellowed and browned with age and listen to the farmers’ machinery humming in the distance. Once again, I am overwhelmed with the golden warmth of this season. The sweet scent of earth and ripe fruit, described by poet John Keats as ‘mellow fruitfulness’, hangs in the air. A few oak leaves flutter and twist their way to the ground, and suddenly mixed in are huge, heavy drops of rain, first a few, then more and more as the rainstorm picks up volume and speed.

I quickly get up to close the sliding doors and suddenly the house is quiet. Dusk begins to settle in on our little villa, and I decide to abandon my desk in honor of my nightly autumn ritual. The silver teapot is lifted off her place from the nearby coffee bar and filled with cold water. Soon she is chattering away on the stovetop, her voice rising higher and higher to a fever pitch, letting me know it is time. Craving something sweet, I choose a dessert tea, Candied Chestnut, described on the box as having sweet, light chestnut notes and a smooth buttery finish. That should do. Soon my senses are filled with chestnuts and memories, and with tiny, careful steps so as not to spill a drop, I mince my way back to my desk.

Suddenly feeling a chill, I grab a trusty, plaid blanket lying close by and wrap my shoulders tightly. Settling in once again, I sip the hot brew and nod self-approvingly on my selection tonight. Pulling an oak leaf from a dried floral arrangement on my desk, I study it thoughtfully. These sturdy leaves don’t crush and break so easily like the maple and ash when I rake them. Like the tree itself, they silently boast of strength and durability.

“It’s been a hard season,” I murmur to myself. I twist the leaf by its stem and watch it twirl in my hand. “You never know just what tomorrow holds, and you’re stronger than you know, stronger than you know,” the words to a song echo through my mind, and I join in, quietly singing to the leaf, the tea, and myself. And at this precise moment, I knew I had everything I needed. I was going to be okay.

“I know how to live humbly, and I know how to abound. I am accustomed to any and every situation—to being filled and being hungry, to having plenty and having need. I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” ~ Philippians 4:12-13

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