Saturday Morning

She is making a pot of tea and I am clearing plates from the table. We both step around the room, around the dog, around the circular table, around each other, by instinct. I could navigate this space with my eyes closed, if called upon to do so. From down the corridor, the voices of my children, playing with the array of toys my mother keeps in her cupboards, can be heard, rising and falling, exclaiming and negotiating. Tea-making is a sacred, circumscribed ritual in this house. I would never presume to undertake it, would never encroach on this most delicate of tasks. There are several steps that must be followed, one leading mysteriously from the next: I can never quite remember the sequence, have always been too impatient to learn, unlike my sisters, who enact the same ritual in the same way in their own kitchens. The correct pot must be selected, as should the most suitable cosy. Warming must take place, for a prescribed amount of time, and this water must absolutely be discarded, with a quick, derisive flick into the sink. Only then may the tannin-dark pot be filled, first with tea leaves, measured out with a specially appointed pewter spoon, then boiling water. On goes the cosy—knitted or quilted, mostly embroidered—then steeping occurs. On the draining board, cups (bone china, always) and milk at the ready.

Maggie O’FarrellI Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes with Death (Feb 6, 2018)


Notes: Photo – Antique Passion. Related Posts: Maggie O’Farrell

Comments

  1. These day to day routines, done just so…rituals do love, and memories that make the heart ache.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Shoot – I meant ‘rituals of love’…sigh

    Liked by 1 person

  3. OK, why don’t you just copy the whole book for us, in daily rations, so that I don’t have to wait for it to be published and available here already….. 🙂 (only wishful thinking, I know – I wouldn’t want to get you into legal troubles)….. Sighing over my very own tea ritual, very similar to the one above (I don’t mix tea and milk, but everything else, yes).

    Liked by 1 person

  4. btw; I’ve read and jealously kept all her books she’s written before. I am absolutely sure that another treasure is waiting for me

    Liked by 1 person

  5. There is something soothing about rituals
    I don’t know what I envy more – those who have them, or those like O’Farrell who have such an ability to describe them.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. i love the beauty of this ritual and all that goes with it.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Reblogged this on It Is What It Is and commented:
    My favorite .. my early morning drink …. TEA!!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. It has to be the intense beauty of ritual that makes it a delight to live, to observe, and in this case, to write about. And she did so beautifully. As a little girl I sat in the bathroom watching my father’s morning shaving ritual almost every day. And I still do. He goes along with it like I’m not there.

    I apologize first hand if what I’m about to say is insensitive. But from what I know, the last a person with dementia/ alzheimers forgets is the steps of their daily sacred rituals. It is the last thing that stays with them. And it has to be the intense beauty of ritual that makes it last longer.

    Someone out there ought to go around interviewing people and writing down every beautiful detail of their most sacred rituals…

    Liked by 3 people

  9. montanalulu says:

    lovely!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. montanalulu says:

    reminds me of the japanese tea ceremony….beautiful and mindful….

    Liked by 1 person

  11. lovely

    Like

  12. You are the sharer of literary gems David. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. This brings such a calming energy with it, David. Thank you. Cher xo

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I’ll add my voice to the chorus of those praising ritual. For me, it was my grandmother in the kitchen, kneading dough to make a pie crust or her incredible homemade chicken and noodles. If I close my eyes, I can see her wrist flicking *just* the right amount of (unmeasured) flour across the surface, humming as she works the dough — not too long, Lori, or you’ll make it tough — and smiling as she hands over the pastry cutter so that I can work in the thin slivers of butter. What I wouldn’t give for another afternoon in the kitchen with her…..

    Liked by 2 people

  15. What wonderful thoughts from all. I need/want/shall make a list of remembered sacred rituals. I know I say it often…how the ordinary is elevated to the level of extraordinary with our mindfulness. Oh, I pray to be more aware of these daily gifts…..
    Thanks for this today, David.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I wish I made my tea with such a mindful practice! ☕️ Those instant tea bags ruined it!!

    Liked by 1 person

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