Thursday, December 10, 2009

Gravity, you there? + (Mini Review 901 Menghai Ba Da Gao Shan)

So yeah, it's been a while. It's been a rather interesting few months too. I've found myself easily at my lowest of lows and have only recently begun to start putting it all back together. I wasn't sure if I'd ever write here again, and my research into language and the difficulties of literal/figurative translation is taking far longer than I ever could have ever imagined it would. This could be a project that follows me around for several years before I'll have anything to show for it.

The fact is, I can't write when I can't enjoy the time I get to spend in my own head, and those wonderful nights staying up late, absorbing all of the new albums I still make a point to gather up haven't been a regular part of my world since I moved to this new place. Part of it is the holidays for sure, but a big part of it is the fact that I've been so far removed from finding joy in small moments that the hours go slipping past and it's morning all over again, rushing to be out the door to do a job that feels much less than satisfying. The only thing that hasn't slipped is my time spent with Grace.

To slow down and take it all in, a lot has happened over the course of the past couple years and I'm still scratching my head at how I walked away from this with only a bruised ego and mild reversible brain damage. The mountain of failed relationships have shown me just how a deft blow to the heart can send a man clean out of orbit.

Recently, I was having a beer with a dear friend and we were discussing the flow of things and we summed it up to being in a car with an opaque front windshield. You see the world go whizzing past you, everyone else outside can see where you're going, and they'll even warn you when things get in your way. You can even see where they're going, and what stands in their way. Yet most of the time, we're too busy tinkering with the radio to give any real credence to their warnings. So a seemingly unstoppable force collides with an immovable object and thus begins the story.

I've had the luck of acquiring friends who, for lack of a better phrase, had no difficulty seeing through the bullshit, picking me up, dusting me off, and sending me off into the world time and again the past few months. I can only assume most of them could easily write a song to the beat of my trips and stumbles, but they stood by. That said, I'm quite sure I'm past my reckless point, but some days are still more difficult than others. Grace's mother still tends to spin me about without even trying, and each day I have to remind myself to breathe past the difficult points, sewing my mouth shut, but often missing one or two stitches. Given time, it gets easier, but it requires effort every single day.

Now, onto other matters. ^__^

Winter snuck up on us this year. It went from 50F days down to 10-12F almost overnight, and most of us weren't ready for it. What this means is that humidity is down in the house, so the sweet aromas that normally fill my nose every time I walk past my tea stash taper off a bit. It's also the time of the year when I make a point to get really heavy back into drinking tea. I dig out old teas and see what they've been up to all spring, summer, and fall while I've been away.

Dragon of Bulang, you still disappoint me.

Hai Lang Hao, you always come through for me.

All of my shu is just as deliciously musty as I remember it, and on numerous occasions, I've gone all day with a few of the old tea nuggets.

Some of my TGY needs a refresh in the roaster, but otherwise deliciously thick and buttery.

Tonight, I'm drinking something new though. Something I don't have prior experience with. It was a gift from Bryan at Teajournaling. Every year, we buy a bing and a tuocha for birthdays. It's easy and never disappoints. This year, he got me something new from Menghai; the 901 Ba Da Gao Shan Organic Sheng pu.

Big fuzzy leaves, very clean aroma, bright clear soup. According to Scott's description on Yunan Sourcing, this is entirely composed of higher quality leaves and is entirely Certified Organic 2009 spring flush, as opposed to the usual blend of younger and older mao cha. I'm fairly confident this will age decently well, but at the rate I've been drinking this, I'll have to buy another cake soon if I want to find out.

The closest I'll be getting to a tea-mountain anytime soon...

This tea has a very good lift as well. I'm feeling a mild tea buzz from it, and the same kind of warmth and happiness that I generally feel after I've enjoyed a big bowl of Panang Curry at Lai Thai (which is a small Thai restaurant run and owned by a lovely woman who has been an unwavering source of optimism and my benchmark for genuine human compassion). A warm, full belly and a happy heart. That's what this leaves me with. Lasting impressions and a moment to reflect.

Today on the way home from picking Grace up, she said to me "Daddy, do you remember my mommy?" It floored me, if only for a few moments. I just said "Yeah Grace, I remember your mommy very well." She's got such a simple presence, even taking her inquisitive nature and ridiculous vocabulary into consideration. Over time, I'm sure the questions are only going to become more elaborate. What will my words and actions add when she finally understands the story that led up to her birth and life?

When it boils down to it, the importance in anything is the impression it leaves us with. I've been thinking about that a lot lately.


Bryan said...

We must hang out soon, drink a few beers, and of course plenty of tea! We have much to catch up on.

Anonymous said...

So what's your favorite (not pu-erh, please) tea right now? And is fair trade going to be discussed on Mugpuerh?


Jamus said...

Bryan, this is a situation easily remedied, and you know it :-)

Jim, I think right now, my favourite tea is an Ali Shan High Mountain Oolong tea I received as a gift from my friend Brett in Seattle. The leaf integrity is amazing, and it has a warming thick buttery soup that is just incredible. I don't have much left but I can see if it is something that is still available should you care to try it. Catch me online and we can discuss fair trade a bit more in depth, because it's a pretty broad topic. Hope you put the Foojoy in it's place!