Yesterday was a cold and rainy day in Asheville, North Carolina. So, rather than going out I decided to stay in and “shop my shelf,” meaning my bookshelf of course! I pulled out some old favorites that feature quiet and cozy aspects of taking tea.
First are two books by Diana Rosen: Taking Time for Tea: 15 Seasonal Tea Parties to Soothe the Soul and Celebrate the Spirit and Meditations with Tea: Paths to Inner Peace. These are lovely books full of ideas about slowing down and enjoying meditative time with tea. Diana Rosen’s author page at Workman Publishing states that she has a special interest in “practices that enhance spirituality in everyday life.” Apparently taking tea is one of these practices, which is no doubt a part of the reason I enjoy her writing so much.
The third book that I pulled off my bookshelf today is a collaborative effort between Shelley and Bruce Richardson of Elmwood Inn Fine Teas fame. This book, called Looking Deeply Into Tea: Thoughts and Prayers, is dedicated to "the families living in tea gardens in India and Sri Lanka." From Shelley’s heartfelt “Introduction” at the beginning of the book, to Bruce’s “Photography Notes” that close the pages, it is apparent that this project was a labor of love. Each page spread features a beautiful photograph by Bruce accompanied by prayerful thoughts written by Shelley.
If you are a book collector, like I am, you will find that cold winter days are a great time to “shop your shelf.” To accompany these books, I drank a tea that had been given to me as a Christmas gift, “Black Orchid” by Mariage Frères. As the package states, “Black Orchid” is a “smooth black tea…dotted with notes of vanilla and spice.” As I steeped the tea, its fragrant scent filled my kitchen and invited me to some quiet time with tea and books.