Imagine your tea cup is three thousand years old,
it was made in Egypt by a High Priestess
during a magical ceremony
to bless and infuse every cup of tea with celestial healing.
Imagine you had to scale
fifty foot cliffs for your honey
and carry it down on your back.
Imagine you dug the earth
and prayed and weeded
and danced and harvested
and chaffed and ground and kneaded
and baked the wheat for your bread.
Imagine you fed your beautiful
brown eyed cow nice grass
and you milked her and you churned
the cream and sand the Come Butter Come Song
and you paddled the butter into its mold
and this is the butter for your toast.
Imagine you walked to Tibet from here
and you gathered the tea in your skirt on a steep
windy hillside, and then you
dried the tea in the sun for days
watching over it, you slept beside it
at night under a full moon.
Imagine the Buddha made your teapot.
He gathered the clay by the banks of the Ganges
and fashioned a teapot just for you
and built a fire of sandalwood to fire it in, and he walked
to Nepal to get the turquoise he ground for the glaze for your
teapot and on it he painted a Lotus flower.
Imagine now, there are angels singing to you because
You are so loved, now, while you are having tea with cream,
and toast, with butter and honey.
~ Rachel Ballantine (Tea and Toast)
Chama River Valley – October 23, 2015
I have a present for you, she said, and pulled out a book she created. We sat outside eating giant cinnamon buns under the shelter at Tesuque Market, a pinon fire in an oven behind us barely cutting the almost too chill air. Noon, a time I’m not usually there. The small parking lot full, muddy with big puddles from the cold rain we’d had off and on for three days. I’ll read you a poem, she said.
I met Rachel on Facebook. She constantly has me chuckling with her stories, her sense of humor, wit, observations. We planned to meet last year but she couldn’t make it. This past winter she noted my interest incorporating bodywork in writing workshops, sent me a book for study. It arrived with a book of her poetry. This summer I got a 505 area code call, knew it was New Mexico, no one I knew. I want your opinion, she said. We talked for an hour. Last Friday I picked her up at the Santa Fe Train Depot, offered a day in town or a drive in the country. She opted for the drive. It turned out to be a gift to both of us. She needed escape from noise and place. I needed something perfect. We rode under splendid skies through the spectacular pattern and color of New Mexico countryside, the horizon clear, haze washed away. Drank in jewels of light sparkling on Abiquiu Lake, and blazing yellow-gold cottonwoods in sunshine, their bark like brown-black charcoal drawings amongst the color. We both felt fed, satisfied when I dropped her off. The next day I stepped out on the porch to the delicate fragrance of the live piñon trees spread out before me. Rare in the desert where the air’s so dry smells have little to cling to. Felt like a blessing.
Rachel shared this about the day: The Train Trip and The Fourth Dimensional Puzzle, or, A Harmonic Convergence. . .“it was my intent to take a train to see a friend and so all of the cosmos lined up for it to happen, from the past, from everywhere. I wore my grandmother’s Zuni earrings that my grandfather bought at Zuni from a ten year old boy, they were his first pair he ever made. that was in 1930. I wore my new jeans , made in Bangeldesh. I bought gasoline, where did that come from. the nice lady from Mexico at Lotaburger made my burrito, where did the beans, the flour come from. where did the coffee come from. I was grateful. I drove to the train station listening to Alice Cooper on my cassette player ‘I like the way you crawl across the cathouse floor’. At the station I think about the train tracks in the sun, who made them, who set them. who built the train? who wove the seat covers? watching the landscape I love the adobe houses and heard a woman behind me from New York City say ‘look those houses are so drab, so homely,’ I thought we take ourselves with us wherever we go. I met a nice lady who said she will buy my book. anyway my point is that when you have an intent all things converge like a giant web or fourth dimensional puzzle to make it happen. we are all in the midst of this every second. we are all held up by a million actions and people and unknowns every moment in utter connection. think about it!”
Yes! Exactly. And how many times have we done something never knowing what it means to either ourselves or another person? I questioned myself offering a ride in the country as I said the words. But it seemed right, and in fact, was exactly right. I can only think more was involved than random thoughts. It’s happened to you, too, right?
Another small journey. Getting to Wise.
A Writer’s Life.
I love Rachel’s book, Recipoetry of a Kitchen Mystic, A Cookbook Scrapbook.
It’s a beauty of poetry, recipes, handpainted and collage pages. Get it here.
A favorite: Tea and toast for breakfast. Really.
A secret: I’d noticed her earrings, studied them. The turquoise, silver squash blossom.