I quietly sit with my Saturday morning cuppa and gaze out my window at the gorgeous colors bursting across the New England landscape. The rich autumn palette has inspired me to reach for a tea with a deeply colored leaf, a Japanese green called Gyokuro Kamakura, a precious gift from a colleague.
The Japanese word Gyokuro translates in English to “pearl dew” or “jewel dew” which in my mind conjures up images of a delicate sunrise over misty fields of tea bushes. Approximately 3 weeks before the leaves are ready for plucking, the bushes are covered with a dark cloth or straw. This covering results in the harvest of a darker green, silky leaf with a slightly higher caffeine content.
The aroma reminds me of freshly cut grass and the spring green liquor is richly vegetal with a tang which wakes up my tongue. The tea packet is created with beautifully textured and colored Japanese paper. I believe that the bottom symbol is the Japanese character for tea. If the spirit ever moved me to get a tattoo, this is what I would choose. I love Japanese kanji characters for their artful quality but especially for how they tell a story about a word or phrase.
What is your experience with Japanese tea?
This morning there is a very cool breeze coming in my windows. As I gaze out over the treetops, I see a variety of reds, oranges, maroons and golds blooming amongst the greenery. October is one of my favorite months because I love so much about this autumn time of year – the aroma of dry leaf as it dances across my path, the explosion of color across the landscape, the crisp, tart taste of a just picked apple, the bright orange pumpkins displayed in wooden carts along the side of the road. This morning, however, I am feeling wistful as the memory of summer slips away. So, in light of my mood, I have brewed up a green Formosa Oolong called Spring Dragon.
After plucking the new growth (2 leaves and a bud), the leaves are spread out to dry and oxidize. They are shaken periodically during this drying period to bruise the leaf and release its volatile oils for flavor. This also helps in the oxidation process, the turning brown process of the leaf. This Oolong is only lightly oxidized so it is carefully monitored during this time. Once the tea master judges the oxidation to be sufficient, the leaves are pan roasted to halt oxidation. Then they are rolled and dryed some more.
It is amazing that you can see the serration on the edges of the intact leaf that I have spread out after I steeped the tea. I left a portion of one leaf still rolled up a little so you can see how it has opened up. The aroma is sweet and delicately flowery. The light honey colored liquor is also sweet with lilac flavor notes. Mmmmmmm….
I have finished my September journal page, entitled “The Harvest Goddess of Abundance and Gratitude”. Only 12 days behind schedule!
She embodies the cycle of the harvest from the birth of the seed to its growth and manifestation to its harvest and production of more seeds to its dormancy to the rebirth of the seed. The cycle spirals on. The sun rises and gives warmth and nurture to the growth of the seed and its harvest. As the Goddess’s harvest progresses, the leaves fall gently through the air all around her. They will return to the earth to nourish the next seeds.
So, this piece represents the abundance of our harvest and gratitude for what has manifested from the seeds we have sown. Acceptance of the natural rhythms of the earth and a turning inward to contemplate how our seeds have grown and manifested in this cycle.
What do you think?
“Let your dreams be as vast as the night sky, as bright as the sunset and as powerful as the wind.” -Anonymous
Another bead crochet experiment, this time with C-lon cord and a hank of variegated turquoise and brown size 8 beads I purchased during my trip to Michigan last month. I don’t think you’re supposed to see that much of the cord but I loosened my crocheting up because it was getting so tight that I could hardly get the hook (size 2.25mm) in the stitch. Do any of you bead crocheters experience that? I think it’s going to be a matter of practice to get the right tension. This cord is pretty stiff so maybe that was part of the challenge for me, too. This piece is a little over 4 inches long so too short for a bracelet but I could use it for part of a necklace.
I have a color challenge for myself based on a post I read at Morwyn’s AnotherCountry Beadworks blog. She invited her readers to pick 3 or 4 numbers between 1-50. Then you click on a link to a list of numbers that had a color associated with each number. I love lists and anything to do with color so I had a lot of fun doing this. My colors are turquoise, fuschia, Paynes gray and copper. Paynes gray is a dark bluish gray.
What a great exercise to get beyond your usual color choices. So, today I am gathering components to make a necklace with these colors. Thanks for the inspiration, Morwyn!