Recently my cousin posted a picture of his tea collection. He was transitioning from one job and brought all his tea from work home to mingle with his tea collection at home. When I saw the picture and read the status, it took me back to a different time and place. I responded that Grammie would be so proud. I will forever remember my Grandmother’s love of tea.
I had the opportunity as a child, growing up, to spend a summer at my Grandparents cabin. I remember how we would sit out on the second-floor deck for afternoon tea. It was so peaceful under the canopy of trees, nestled between two hills carved out of the mountainside by the stream that ran next to the cabin. We would sit and talk about life and soak in the sounds of nature.
Across the stream from the cabin, there was a clearing at the base of an extremely large tree which had fallen so long ago. The biggest part of the tree had been cleared away, but the upended roots and base were still there for the forest animals to come to and climb on. Grandad would gather old stale bread from the bakery outlet in the city and dry it out so it wouldn’t spoil further. We would break up the bread and sprinkle it in the clearing around the fallen tree. In the daytime for tea we could watch the smaller animals, chipmunks mostly, come for their afternoon tea as well.
At night, after dinner, we would have our nightly tea and dessert. Granddad had installed floodlights so that we could watch the animals that came out after dark. These were the deer and raccoons. Oh, how Grammie loved the raccoons! There would be families of raccoons, and she loved to watch the babies waddle behind the parents.
My grandparents had a deep respect for nature, and the animals knew that they were safe on our land. The forest around the cabin was old growth. The trees had not been logged since the early 1900’s. Granddad made it clear that he thought the forest was worth more than the money the trees would bring. I learned my deep respect for nature and the environment from my Granddad and time spent at the cabin.
Life marches on. The cabin was eventually sold when health forced my Grandparents to move closer to the medical facilities and civilization. That has been what feels like a lifetime. My Grandparents are gone now as well. But I will forever hold in my heart the joys I experienced and the lessons I learned.
My son has discovered a love for tea. I look at him and see the respect for life and the joy for the little things that I received from my Grandparents and know, the best in life somehow finds a way to continue, to grow. They will always be with me, they are a part of me. For now, I think I will have a cup of tea.