BAYOU ALLEY

Louisiana Heron by James Audubon

This majestic heron reminds me of a trip to the Louisiana Bayou and how gracefully the heron stood on the river bank.  Suddenly an alligator approached the boat startling my husband focusing on him with the camera…kerplunk went the camera and all the photos we had taken that day into the river.  That alligator was hug and ugly!

HAIKU

On a riverboat

Heat sizzled murky water

Dread the alligator!

 

CHINESE PLANTATION

Chinese Tea Plantation by Welcome Collection

Today pours a drizzling rain, postponing my walk, so to cut the chill over me, I steep French vanilla Chai tea.  The cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and ginger tickle my senses and begin writing…

No one really knows who first put a tea leaf into hot water to create such an aromatic and restorative drink.  Legends about this abound starting with the Chinese Emperor Shennong, Confucius and Buddha.  As tea plantations grew, the Chinese planters trained monkeys to shake the leaves from the trees.  The process was dirty:  Leaves were picked, dried, stir-fried and rolled into leaves.  That began the Chinese tradition that “the first cup of tea is for your enemies.”  The recipe was a guarded secret.

According to the classic work Cha Ching, Lu Yu defines the art of tea:

The best quality tea must have

The creases like the leather boots of Tartar horsemen,

Curl like the dewlap of a mighty bullock,

Unfold like a mist rising out of a ravine,

Gleam like a lake touched by a zephyr,

And be wet and soft like

Earth newly swept by rain. 

No wonder ceremonial tea houses continue this ancient tradition.  We are fortunate that there is an abundance of refreshingly flavored and therapeutic teas from around the world to enjoy.

“While there is tea, there is hope.”  –Arthur Wing Pinero

“We are like tea, we don’t know our own strength until we’re in hot water.”  –Eleanor Roosevelt

“If you are cold, tea will warm you; If you are too heated, it will cheer you; If you are excited, it will calm you,”  –William Ewart Gladstone

“Tea tempers the spirit, harmonizes the mind, dispels lassitude and relieves fatigue, awakens the thought and prevents drowsiness.”   –Lu Yu, The Classic Art of Tea

Care to have a nice cup of tea now?

The drizzle has stopped and off I go walking!

YOU AND I

Twilight Tree of Life Painting by Blenda Studio

You and I are the lambs of the Good Shepherd.

Wolves will snare at us on the serpentine roads of life, but the Good Shepherd will lead us into loving green pastures.

“How shall I make a return to the Lord for all the good he has done for me?”  –Psalm 116:12

My answer is simple:  I shall ‘take refuge in the Lord” always.  I may bleed from time to time with shock and longing, but I will always concede that the Lord is my Shepherd, and there is nothing that I shall lack.

With a new week ahead, may you experience “How lovely is your dwelling place, Lord, God of hosts.”  -Psalm 84

POWER OF ABSTRACTION

Cobalt, Turquoise and Gold Painting by Ephemeral Emerald

Each time I peruse Emerald’s art gallery, my mind wanders in mystifying places.  His color combinations tickle my fancy as I delve into his abstract shades and degrees of light and darkness…perfect for a Haiku…

Rustic ground under me

Shall I cross over the blue sea

and touch heavenly skies?