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Books’n’tea

The official day of my book release, 30th of may 2020, was celebrated with a Mei Leaf Ruby Gaba. It’s a book for a 84 km walk along the danish-german border and follows the footpath along a fjord, in old times walked by the border police. I wrote it, took all pictures, made drawings and drew maps, so others can walk it, and layouted it. There it is. No more bragging… Just happy 😇

Book- and tea greetings from Ulla

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The chestnut branch in water is still on the table, the tea tray has been brought out here, and the oxen teapet is with me, too. The sun is out. May. Green may. Birds sing.

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I am brewing the above mentioned tea, in a white gaiwan, 30 sec, 20 sec., 40 sec., and the 4th brew has been forgotten, while I got pen and paper to write. Flower sweet, light golden, then golden. A hint of astringency, it’s an ok everyday tea, but not – Tea Masters ; )

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Anyway, writing now, late in the process, makes me focus less on the brewing details, but more on the state I am in. It is a combination of the weather, the tea utensil setting, the tea itself – and then the reading of ‘fitting’ litterature. I am finishing an article about the discoverer of electromagnatism, danish H.C. Oersted. There will be an exhibition about him in the Round Tower in Copenhagen, which actually is a church, Trinitatis Church. Built by king Christian IV, in 16-s.th., it is famous for its round tower, which has an interior spiral formed way, not stairs, going up to the top – so you could go by horsecart! On the top floor, there is a observatory with a big lense for star gazing. It seems to have been inspired by the legendary lighthouse of Alexandria, which had a spiral way, too. On the top of the church nave was the university library, unfortunately destroyed in a big fire. Oersted came here to study, and that’s were the exhibition is going to be, in july.

The reason why I am fascinated by Oersted, is not the scientific discovery, but the reason that he was part of the romantic movement. Born in 1777, just 5-6 years after my favorite poets Wordsworth and Coleridge, whose ‘litterature and landscapes’ I have been writing about (in danish). Part of the same movement in Denmark were the poet Adam Oehlenschläger and a bit later, H.C. Andersen. They all were fascinated by nature, landscape, naturalness – and the feeling if being ONE with it. For Oersted, the founding of electromagnatism was a confirmation of the unity and beauty in nature. Everything in nature was connected, he felt. The headline of the article therefor was “Skønhed i naturen i Rundetaarn”, “The beauty in nature in the Round Tower”.

Something I also experience in drinking tea this way… Circle closed. Or is it…? Let me taste the 4th brew. And watch a little green friend, who came visiting… Tea greetings from the balcony, Ulla : )

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Grey may morning, but still a tea morning. Second time I brew and drink the soft velvet like pressed white tea from Elton Powell. I forgot to bring my siv and pitcher, so there are small leaves in the cup, but so it is. Soft and golden.

Second time I am trying out resin incense after discussing the matter with a tea friend. He advised me to wait longer for the coal to cool, so it woulndn’t scorch the resin. I waited 25 minutes, put the piece of resin on the whitened coal, it melts immediately, smokes, gets black at the bottom, and leaves a black stain on the coal. The same after 30-35 min. After 50 min., a slower burning, melting into a drop, changing colour from transparent gold to more opaque yellow, starting to smoke, bearing the material into the air, the drop getting smaller, til it disappears, and leaves a black spot on the white coal. The spot glows, deep down… hm.

I also use a tea light, a stone diffuser, where I have removed the top and covered it with aluminium foil instead. Here the resin melts – smells nicely close up – but doesn’t burn. I try to pick some up with my finger to use as ‘parfume’ – but it immediately stiffens on my finger and burns it.

The music I listen to, was recommended by the same tea friend: Yesterday Kayhan Kalhor, who mixes trad. iranian music with blues and jazz. Today “Call of the Winds – Julia Ohrmann & Mehdi Aminian – Persian Ney & Indian Bansuri (flute)”.

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Taking my 4th brew to the window, examining the horison with binoculars. It’s foggy, the swedish coast only faintly visible. Big clouds look like I imagine the mountains in India, and with the music I get transported to another part of the world – and am at home at the same time. This music, with flute and string instrument, is so calm. There is no drama, it is floating, like watching a river, with the bubbles and leaves or whatever might float along with it. Not either ‘minor’ or ‘major’ as in western music. No verses, and a final end. It could go on forever, it seems. It keeps the soul floating. It creates a good place for it to be. It makes it ok to be right here, in the moment, not having to go anywhere. Do we have s.th. like that in our own culture? I wish – but on the other hand, today we luckily can be inspired by culture all around the globe. And something in my head says: “In the moment, I wish for something else to be, I MISS THE MAGIC.” Ok…

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Iranian flute music –

and the swallows

dancing to it

 

Persian flute dance –

a grounded tea feeling

a duck in the sea

We have the celtic music – but often it is melodic, in verses, with a start and an end. Beautiful, but not with the eternal feeling I am having here. – Now tones, that remind me of Greece. The landscape, plants, palmtrees, the food, cabbage, salads snd grilled fish – and the so friendly people. My parents’ friends, who took us up in the mountains, on a hazardous cartrip on serpentine roads, to visit their grandmother in a stone house, probably without electricity and running water. A culture on the edge to Asia, with mediterranean warth, and love. Leonard Cohen on Hydra. Me on Kos. I think I am tea drunk now…

Tea greetings, Ulla

On a walk the other day I saw this tree, abundantly blooming as if it were a question about life and death. If we lived our lives like that – what would be possible…

In the morning, I had my usual japanese sencha “Midori”, (which means ‘green’) from singtehus.dk. It has a thick texture in the first brew, a jade colour, like dew, and such a refreshing taste, and body sensation, that it just is the best in early morning.

Bird postcard by me, 20 years ago. In the evening I harvested some hawthorn, and had some right away. It tasted like honey…

Tea greetings, Ulla

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Saturday morning, and the weather is behaving a bit april-like, windy and with showers of rain. But the sun is out now, and through the open balcony door I hear birds like the little munk. There is the wind in the trees, and the mother-of-pearl windchime. And the sight of the glittering sea.

My tea setting today is WHITE. A woolen blanket in off-white as a tea cloth, chabu, a white gaiwan, white cups, both small and big – because it´s only me. And the reason: I will open a 100 gr pressed white tea cake, “High Mountain White Peony Cake, 100 gr”, from http://www.teaforyou.co.uk!

The white wrapping has fibers woven into it, and the label has golden specks of colour. He starts his own review with pictures of white cherry blossoms, and “It´s spring now… and as you can see, the cherry blossom is out now”. I myself have a little flowering hawthorn branch in the vase, from the nearby golf course. It reminds me of, that I soon want to visit the old royal huntings grounds north of Copenhagen, Eremitagen. It is famous for its old and crooky hathorn trees, that are scattered around the open plain. He describes the scent like hay, also in the cup later, followed by a cooling sensation, later brews with more fruitiness (5 gr, water just of the boil).

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Beautiful wrapping, and un-wrapping. Structured paper with bits of “hay” fibres in it! The scent is like a meadow, yes, where the hay is lying, cut, on top of the ground, wet… Big, furry leaves and buds, woven together in an organic pattern, with colour hues ranging from dark brown, over dark green, to light off-white and grey. The cake seems light, and tapping with my fingers, it sounds hollow… the sound would make a very good ASMR video, it it so meditative pure… Finding my way in with my fingers (forgot the “knife”), I find the leaves lying in layers, so I break of a part of the upper layer, it comes off in a moon shaped oval. Whole leaves, both green and white, fall off. It is like collecting leaves in the forrest underwood… pure nature.

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The big leaves stick out of the gaiwan. I am pouring water. 30 seconds. I fill it in three small cups with black laquer ´saucers´ underneath. Smelling the wet leaves, I get more hay, but I also go back to a norwegian summerhouse and its dark red shed, where we as children sat and waited for the mice to come out – I think they stored hay on the upper floor. But now I also smell underwood, wet earth, and forrest.

The tea colour is golden yellow. A surprising thick mouthfeel hits me, golden thick drops, sweet, round, hay, SUN. It is like drinking sun. After the reading about the tea, then observing, watching, and smelling, right NOW it becomes a body sensation. Now I am drinking, now the tea is my body, it becomes me. And it is starting to warm my whole body. I awake. Every cell in my body awakes. The mind stops, giving way to a feeling from inside, and an awareness, a calmness, that wasn´t there before. Such a mild tea – but what a rich tea, heavy tea, awakening the body like this. And maybe even – the soul.

With a green tea, I drank recently, I remember to have had the same so surprising mouth feel of thickness. Here it is again, but with this pressed white tea, not a green one. What experiences tea can give… an adventure, an lifelong exploring for the senses… and again, the soul.

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While brewing again, and waiting, there is a quietness – like listening to the tea brewing. This 2. brew, after 35 seconds, is more orange in colour. The taste deeper, more fruity, HAY – just a little less round. The water getting closer to the cores of the leaves. I earlier had the thought, tastewise, of “books”, in a good way. The taste of golden books… Looking up, at the horison the rapeseed field on the island of Hven is flowering: bright yellow golden, too.

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3. brew (1 min). I fill the tea into the bigger cup, by a swedish potter, it is now golden orange. I open a book I choose for this morning, browsing my bookshelves, about Canterbury – and incidentally open on a page, which has a golden watercolour of just the same hues as the tea. The motive is the old Greyfriar building in the center of the town. I have seen it – and memories go back to that, a sunny day, full of flowers and birds.

I feels like I am grounded by a golden lake now, I feel warm, round, calm, happy. I breath in, and my whole body breathes.

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Turning a page: “This is the birthplace of Christopher Marlowe, one of the nests of Elizabethan singing birds -“. No better way to conclude this morning, than with his words: “With mouth of gold, and morning in his eyes.”

Tea greetings, Ulla

Yesterday I again visited the house that belonged to Karen Blixen – but this time to write about the walk through the garden and park, because it has connection to another danish poet, Johannes Ewald (1743-81). Benches have names, often from birds, because K.B. made it into bird sanctuary. Just outside I collected, and draw, some “ramsløg”, wild garlic.

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One of the last mornings of the lockdown, a cloudy saturday early morning. I am preparing the room by lighting a new incense, bought in Elsinore recently: White sage cones by “elements”, “traditionally used in Native American rituals and ceremonies it cleanses and purifies while provides a naturally soothing environment”. It somehow calms and refreshes at the same time. Also, still in the room, the scent of drying nettles, plantain and especially woodruff.

Then it is Mei Leaf once more. In short, it is a high class Anji Bai Cha from Zhejiang, march 2019, with notes of “freshly mowed grass, asparagus umami, starfruit and green pumpkin seeds”. While brewing, I listen Don’s video about the tea and his recommandations for brewing.

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The wet leaves, after brewing 3gr 25 sec., have an amazing scent of s.th. savory, that is even more complex and deep than what he describes – I imagine a whole plate with butterfried MEAT, and vegetables, maybe green beans and asparagus, on the side. THAT’S interesting…

The tea itself round, medium thick, fresh meadowlike, as Don said. The whole ‘meal’ is not in the liquor, though (I later smell the wet leaves after the 2. brewing, and there it is again!).

Next to me sit a big round fluorite crystal, I also picked up in Elsinore. It does s.th. to me in my hand, and when we checked its meaning in a book, it said cleansing, clearing ones mind, learning and making decisions. Great.

The tea matches so well this white green scent of sage – the light turquoise fluorite stone – the view out of the window at the calm silvergrey sea – and the park trees all clad in fresh lime green leaves, still small and delicate… The taste of the tea is so sweet and round and back in the mouth somehow. No astringency at all. A good morning it was – and a good morning and day to you.

Ulla

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The morning after the 75y celebration of the end of WWII in Denmark, people sang from balconies and waved flags. A reminder of peace, in strange times. In my room I am woodruff drying, harvested in a forrest nearby, on may 1st, and a scent of that waves through the air. It will be part of a next batch of loose incense mixture. I am brewing a Green Snail Spring, Bi Luo Chun, “Green Coil” from Mei Leaf, 2019. Peace & good health to you 💕

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