Single Trees

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One of my enlightening tea experiences was a sample set that my little local tea shop in Bonn (now TeeGschwendtner and not so little anymore) offered many years ago: Four different early invoices from first flush Darjeeling teas. I had never had tea that expensive before, nor had I tasted tea like that. It changed my tea trinking habits dramatically.

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This year, Harney & Sons are offering small tins with labels saying distinctively Tree 1 through Tree 4. These are harvests from four individual Song Zhong tea trees, each prepared in a different way. Harney characterizes them as floral/fruity/body/creamy.

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These are all Oolong teas with a slightly peachy flavor, and they are really all different in taste. In found the second one most interesting with strong Maracuya notes, and the last one rather blunt.

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While not as mind-opening as my Darjeeling experience many years ago, this has still been a worthwhile experience.

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Reportedly, Chinese buyers can purchase an entire tea tree and receive the yearly harvest over their life time. I would like that.

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Finally, the Grayness has arrived.

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Some places have a fifth season. California, for instance, has a few weeks of High Summer where the air seems fresher and the sky more lucid than usual. Indiana, on the other side, has Gray Winter.

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There are ways of resistance. One is through structure,

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another through subversive use of color.

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In Michael Ende’s masterpiece Momo, the men in gray talk people into depositing their free time (usually spent with relaxation or talking to other people) into retirements accounts, which is of course fraud, because the men in gray feed on other people’s time. Fortunately, there is Momo.

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Early morning frost and earlier flooding accentuate these little attempts of resistance that nature puts up.DSC 0245

Let’s not become the gray planet.

Teotihuacan (25 Years Ago)

The first three days of my Winter Break excursion to Mexico in 1993 I spent in Mexico City, and one of them in Teotihuacan.


By bus it takes about an hour to get there. I should have arrived much earlier, to beat the crowds and have better light. One of the most fascinating aspects of this place is how little we know about it.


It had been abandoned by about 700 CE, reaching a population well over 100,000 before. The reasons? We don’t know. Who lived there? We don’t know. Of course there are speculations and theories. 


What fascinates me is the discrepancy between the longevity of what’s preserved and the fragility of what is gone. Did they care what would survive? If we knew we’d be gone in a century, would we care to leave something behind?


Would it be art, pomp, or an attempt of a message?


Perhaps it should just be a vision: This is how we liked it to be. This was us.