Saturday, July 13, 2013

Chrysanthemum tea

It has been many years since I have had this tea. When I mention it to people in Michigan - like the owner of Tea Haus, or random herbalist types I run into at social events - they nod politely and have no idea of what I speak. 
My ex-husband worked for a short time in a Chinese apothecary. He brought this home to help me with my asthma. It is a beautiful tea, flower petals in your cup. May not even be a "real" tea but a tisane.  The scent and flavor are gentle, as you might expect. Pale gold, soft, no bitterness to sweeten away. Just a mouthful of warm air, tinged with the confusingly familiar smell-taste of dried herbs you can't call by name. 
The dried chrysanthemum bloom was packaged separately - it was expensive, so you were supposed to sprinkle it in on top as you brewed the pot.
I loved the idea of flower tea. I loved the process of brewing it. I loved this "medicine" so much more than my steroids and inhalers that made me feel broken, that tasted like disease and cost so much money. But once he left the apothecary, finding the tea was a bit like trying to find a perfume when you don't know its name.
And here it is. I wasn't hallucinating. Happiness is rediscovering the pieces you lost along the way.

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