Saturday, September 15, 2012

Tea and Silence

Having collected words for nearly thirty years, I rarely find myself at a loss. Yet I sat down this morning to write a few cheery paragraphs about life in Alabama, and an hour later I am still baffled. I'd like to write about my doors (home and office) and the new joy of people knocking on them; I'd like to write about the wisdom and gentleness of my colleagues; I'd like to write about my students with their brilliant works and plans and poems; I'd like to write about the bittersweet search for a church.....but all my sentences tumble into each other, images confused with tears that won't reveal whether they are grateful, homesick, hopeful or some tincture of all three. 

I have only one recourse when words fail: to put the kettle on, to pray "O Comforter, within me as I drink my tea...," and then to listen. To listen instead of describing, to watch instead of analyzing, to wait instead of working. 

The words will come back, for we trust one another. In the meantime, I'll just invite you in and share some tea with you:

Dr. Bear's Home-brewed Chai:

Makes 1/2 gallon 
4 1/2 cups water
4 cups organic whole milk 
10 teaspoons loose-leaf black tea (or 10 black tea bags)
1 stick whole cinnamon
3-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
10 whole cloves
1/4 teaspoons ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon orange zest, plus the orange
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
In a saucepan, bring the water to a rolling boil. Add the tea, spices, orange zest, and whole oranges.  Stir, remove from heat and let steep  20 minutes. Strain out the spices and tea and return the mixture to a low simmer. Add the brown sugar, honey and vanilla extract. Stir until sugar and honey are dissolved. If you wish to serve the chai warm, reduce heat, add the milk and stir until warm (be careful not to let the milk boil). If you wish to serve the chai chilled, let the concentrate cool before adding the milk, then serve over ice.  


  1. Wow, Bethany! I will definitely be trying this. It sounds absolutely wonderful, and I am most definitely a chai fan! :)

  2. Thank-you for sharing the tea recipe and that waking up prayer: I feel both will be needed to get through the weeks to come...

  3. Wow! You amaze me at your knowledge in so many things. I know many people who might have a few skills here or there, but you're like a female (and much, much prettier) Ben Franklin or Leonardo DaVinci.

  4. For anyone who didn't understand that analogy, Leonardo and Franklin were both skilled in many different things.