The Protection of Tea

Mama Ramotswe reached for her cup, seeking the protection of tea, but it was empty.
— Alexander McCall Smith, The Woman Who Walked in Sunshine

My friend Kristy brought me back a pottery mug from her recent trip to Seattle and Portland. I have needed a new mug and have wanted some pottery, so the gift was perfect.

A cup of tea, on a Sunday afternoon, while writing letters is also perfect. That’s why I did yesterday while Sailor took her nap, Bauer watched golf, Cash and Story played with our neighbors, and TJ was out of town. There are birthday thank yous to pen, as well as a few regular friend correspondents waiting for letters from me.

Just as tea does its part to comfort and protect us from the harshness of the world at large, writing letters fills my cup. It relaxes me and reminds me of the far-reaching power of relationships. It makes me want to know others better.

We all have our tea, I suppose. Bauer finds safe space in “Adventures in Odyssey,” while Cash huddles up around his football cards to sift and sort. Story listens to audio sets from the library or sprawls on her bed to pretend-read some chapter books. Sailor has her blankets, which she smells and sleeps with and spills on and drags around and smells some more.

Things that protect us from the rest of life, even if just briefly, are things to pay attention to. Drink those things in, feel the warmth of familiarity, and if possible, enter into someone else’s safe space with them. The combination of comfort in community might be the greater protection.