I woke up to snow again today; anathema to the three feet that's already on the ground. I spent the morning looking through seed catalogues; at technicolor pictures of lush vegetables and cheerful flowers, dreaming of the exuberance of summer. "If you plant us", they seem to say, "it will come."
Despite their promise, I know summer will eventually come. And though it's far too soon to look for signs; in winter, hope springs eternal.
I first discovered flowering teas at Pike Place Market in Seattle nearly 4 years ago and have been collecting them since. Sometimes called blooming tea, or art tea, the bundled balls are made of select white tea leaves (unfermented Camellia senesis) bound together with silk thread. Inside, they hide flowers— lily, jasmine, chrysanthemum, carnation, calendula— delicately stitched to the leaves. When dropped into hot water, they slowly unfurl to reveal their hidden beauty; burlesque in a tea cup.
The tea is not the finest or most complex that I've tasted, but on a day like today, watching something bloom before my eyes is visual therapy.