Tea Ceremony

Tea Ceremony

A Story by S.Gillogly
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A young girls first year attending the Tea Ceremony performed at her home.

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Tea Ceremony

 

Lady Kiku patted her daughter’s head, the girl’s ebony hair soft against her hand. It was the morning of the Tea Ceremony and it would be the first time the small girl would be a part of the celebration.  “Kohana,” the woman said as she roused her small daughter, “It’s time to get up my little flower. Today you must help me prepare for the Tea Ceremony.” The little girl opened her honey eyes and smiled warmly at her mother. “Really? I get to be in the ceremony?” She asked as she sat up from her mat, pulling a few stands of loose hair out of her face. Lady Kiku nodded and helped the girl up. It was time to prepare.

Kiku and her daughter dressed in work clothes and headed outside into the heat of the day. It was still chilly out, so Kiku decided to wait till later to start inviting guests; they would have to wait till it cooled a bit outside before they had a bunch of their friends over, less they cook on the front porch. Kiku and Kohana moved along the garden path towards the traditional tea hut where the ceremony would take place. Opening the earthy colored door, Kiku had Kohana go inside with a broom and sweep the building out so it would be nice and clean for the events to come. Then the pair cleaned off the large table inside and all the chairs.

Next Kiku had Kohana get some water in a large bucket and go out onto the path to purify it while she went into the kitchen to help prepare dinner. The workers in the kitchen were moving around busily; running through the kitchen to grab ingredients, boiling water for soup, preparing fish, getting the rice and pickles ready. The whole meal was to be served on traditional ceramic dishes and black trays this way not a color disturbed the tone of the room, not a sound marred the rhythm of things, not a gesture obtruded on the harmony, not a word could break the unity of the surroundings, all movements would be performed simply and naturally �" such were the aims of the tea ceremony. It was all a matter of perfect Zen and reaching inner peace through the calming effects of the food and the tea. Kiku herself supervised how each meal was cooked and placed, and then she went into the main hall to call up some of the guests.

It was starting to get dark when all the food was finally prepared and the guests were starting to arrive, and Kohana had just finished purifying the walkway. She hurried into the house to change into her traditional silk kimono, which was hand made by her grandmother out of beautiful light blue silk. The girl only wore it when it was a special occasion. This was one of those occasions. Kohana had never participated in the Tea Ceremony before and could barely contain her excitement. She wasn’t quite sure what she was going to do but she hoped it was something special.

Kiku sat on the porch talking to some of the arriving guests while the workers she had hired for the ceremony moved the food into the little hut that sat apart from the main house. There would be six light courses followed by a special seventh, which was the desert course. All of these courses would be accompanied by sake. Kiku spied her daughter and moved over to her. “Are you ready to begin the ceremony?” She asked as she took the girl’s hand in her own. “Yes mother.” She replied happily as her and her mother began moving slowly towards the garden path. Lady Kiku cleared her throat. “Welcome everyone to my annual Tea Ceremony. I’m so very honored you all could make it. As you know, this year is my daughter’s first time participating in the event. She will be pouring the traditional green tea at the end of the meal. Now let us begin.” The crowd laughed and whispered, and everyone was joyful as they began walking to the small hut to begin the ceremony. All the while, Kohana could hardly believe her ears. She was to pour the tea. The news made the girl’s heart bounce around inside her body. Of course her mother would help her prepare it, but the girl was to pour it for all of her mother’s guests. This was an honor to her because her mother never let anyone pour the tea, not even her father when he was alive. Kohana smiled widely as she and her mother moved to the front of the hut. She and her mother opened the door to allow the guests in, let them get seated, and then entered themselves.

The meal was magnificent, and Kohana’s head was slightly dizzy from the rice wine. But all in all she felt wonderful.  Her mother stood and beckoned for her to follow, which she did eagerly. It was time for tea. Kiku pointed to the sunken hearth to the far left of the hut. On a shelf on top of the hearth sat a fine light purple silk bag. This was what held the powdered green tea. Kohana walked over and plucked the bag off the shelf, then moved to the hearth. Kiku helped the girl get the fire blazing, then the lady handed her daughter a ceramic bowl. Kohana scooped out a healthy portion of the fine powder and placed it in the bowl, then moved to the fire where her mother had set some water to boil. She poured some of the boiling water into the bowl and began mixing the tea till it was frothy and green. It smelled sweet and warm, and made her think of fields in the summer and the smell after it rained. She swirled the tea with the little bamboo whisk until she deemed it perfect, and then served the guests carefully. Then she served her mother and herself. Everyone sat back and sipped at the fine drink, beaming at the girl who had done an excellent job. This was definitely one of the best Tea Ceremonies in a long while.

Kohana drank the tea and felt all the nervousness and stress of the night melt away to be replaced with utter relaxation and peace. Her body felt heavy and warm.  This was indeed the ceremony of serenity. The little girl felt sleepy and began drift to sleep. Lady Kiku saw this and excused herself from the hut in order to take the girl to her bed and tuck her in. Kohana felt herself being placed in her covers and snuggled down for bed. Though the pressures of life would be on her once more in the morning, for that night she had felt inner peace and was happy.

© 2010 S.Gillogly


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Added on March 26, 2010
Last Updated on March 26, 2010

Author

S.Gillogly
S.Gillogly

TwinFalls, ID



About
Well, this is a site for writers and that what I want to be. I live in a tiny town in Idaho, love animals (except snakes, which I am terrifed of), like to cook, am an experianced artist, and don 't li.. more..

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