New Ritual

… or maybe it’s just an old one, remembered.

Just back from a restorative camping pilgrimage to the annual destination of Girraween NP. Didn’t want to leave, as usual. Such a strong place for me. There is too much to say about it, too much love, too much history, too much learning to try and contain in the confines of a blog post.

So instead I’ll just speak about tea and my new/old ritual of it now that caffeine has been jettisoned (again) thanks so some weird health/body thing going on under my breastbone.

Whilst camping and making and being offered cups of tea for my beloved dear friend and camping companion LeeLee, I found myself spontaneously foraging around the campsite for whatever was growing nearby. Crushed leaves of strawberry gum, various small herbaceous shrubs (there’s one that has a scent not unlike rosemary… I haven’t identified it as yet, sorry) and even glowing green sprigs of Black Cypress (ahhhh, Black Cypress, I could wax lyrical about you and your spunky ancient graceful gnarliness for pages but I’ll restrain myself) all found their way into my teacups and waterbottles over the days we spent there. And I felt them doing me such good. What a sensible and rather obvious thing this is to do. We go to these places of power and beauty and healing to imbibe of them, to soak them up, to take them IN. What better way to do this than as tea? Taking in the subtle essence of the beings who dwell all their lives in these places, just a single leaf or sprig in a cup – nothing greedy or damaging. It makes perfect sense.

And now I’ve returned home, the ritual continues. I’ve been taking the time before work to wander in the garden and find things to try. Aniseed myrtle and lemon grass are old familiar favourites, but I’m also trying riberry and lilypilly leaves, flooded gum and the various native shrubs (that I am too lazy to try to identify just now) that we bought from the lady up the road and planted near my cottage a few years ago. One of them, the tallest and hardiest of these, much admired for its long-lasting white blossoms and generally air of thriving-ness, has the nicest leaves of all – an almost fruity, piquant tang.

I highly recommend this ritual. It gets you out of the morning rut and into something far more interesting and capable of surprise and pleasure. And it connects you to where you are in a deep and simple way. It feels like an ancient, time-honoured thing to do. Something our very greatest of grandmothers would’ve done, and instinctively known what was good for her, and what would heal her illnesses and tend her own thrivingness.

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