Despite all the nonsense across the river, it’s glorious fall day here in Northern Virginia. The leaves are just starting to turn and the sunlight has a golden sheen that foretells the harvest. This week I’m taking a break from my normal busy-ness for a writing retreat with Vinita Hampton Wright, author of various books and the blog Days of Deepening Friendship. Today we’re thinking about the five senses, and challenging ourselves to use a sense we don’t normally use to describe things. For me, that means having a cup of tea because I almost never focus on the taste of things.
The chamomile blend that I chose tasted like gold with a twinge of citrus. It didn’t stay hot very long and slid across my tongue, a happy burst of warm water flavored with sunshine.
That’s it. I just don’t have many more words to explain it.
It’s very tempting to describe how one of the berries in the tea bay shot brilliant red trails around the mug as the tea brewed, and to dissect the various contents of this lovely blend, but that was not the assignment. Taste is a tough sense to articulate, at least for me, the ultimate un-foodie. Maybe I would appreciate tea more if I had the patience to make it often and really perfect it…
I had a challenging but fun and very busy week, and about three this afternoon I was ready to crawl into bed with a good book. Trouble is, everything on my nightstand at the moment is either work related or deliberately somnolent. Not the best reading for refuge.
Then I discovered that today’s Google Doodle honors Jane Addams. As a native to the Chicago area, I’ve known about Hull-House and many of her contributions to social justice here in this country. Only recently did I learn from the podcast Stuff You Missed in History class that she was also an author and peace activist who was so committed to her cause that the FBI investigated her and J. Edgar Hoover labeled her “the most dangerous woman in the country.” A national heroine for her work on child labor and other causes, Addams was greatly beloved until she dared to suggest that the United States should not intervene in what was inconceivably called the Great War, the war that introduced the world to the horror of chemical weapons.
The introduction to the Illinois edition of her 1906 book Newer Ideals of Peace establishes that she was thinking about peace as more than the absence of war long before other 20th century philosophers, including Martin Luther King, Jr. Like him, she recognized the relationship between poverty and conflict and the dangers of a militarized society. I’m looking forward to reading Newer Ideals of Peace this weekend as the world considers what to do about the situation in Syria. It seems fitting to see what this wise Nobel Peace Laureate has to say, and how it could apply today. Maybe it’s not that supposedly scintillating novel everyone talked about all summer, but I’m looking forward to it.