Outside, fallen leaves peek out from the thinly layered snow. I’ve moved all my summer clothes back into their respective boxes, and have pulled out my woven sweaters and thick winter jackets. Sitting cross-legged in our spare room, surrounded by random appliances, I wonder how quickly a year came and went. I wonder how many times I’ll think this throughout the years.
If you blink, you’ll miss December. The holiday season is hectic and dizzying. There is family and friends to see, holiday parties to attend, dinners to host, and gifts to buy, wrap and send. But, there’s also something sweet and resonating about this season. In the last month of the year, it can be an opportunity to look back on the year as we wrap up loose ends and prepare for the new one.
It’s cold in our small apartment, so my husband and I huddle in one room with a space heater. I’ve poured some hot water over the Jasmine Brocade tea pearl and watch it slowly come to life. I observe each strand of the Jasmine Brocade unfurl itself slowly, unveiling a delicate flower that seems to bloom under water. This is by far my favorite tea from Far Leaves Tea; its flavor rivals its beauty. It has a quieter taste than most, but it’s one that’s both exquisite and calming.
There’s something beautiful about this contrast of Spring-like bloom in this tea with the grey skies of winter. I rest the warm jar close to my chest as I watch the last leaves drip from the trees outside our window. Peace is often usurped by other, more tangible matters like, “What should I get my mother-in-law this year? When is the latest I can send packages out? How much money should we spend for gifts?”
I take a sip and rein in my thoughts. Watching the tea leaves as they gracefully dance in water, my restless heart slows just a little. Eventually these things will need to get done, but right now I can enjoy savoring the last month of 2016 – on reflecting on how much I’ve learned and being grateful for all the unexpected joys that we experienced this last year.