Tuesday, January 5, 2010

On Shu

When you are at one with the Tao,
The Tao welcomes you.
When you are at one with Virtue,
The Virtue is always there.
When you are at one with loss,
The loss is experienced willingly.

I decided to take a sick-day and have been drinking Hong Yun Shu all morning. I bought a tong of these mini iron cakes almost a year ago and haven't regretted it at all. People seem to talk down on shu-pu, but it has earned itself a very prominent place in my heart. Actually, it is often times more drinkable than young sheng, even though I'm very much out in the open about my love for the ridiculous bite of a sheng that hasn't mellowed yet. The thing I love most about shu is it's very pronounced earthiness and how it makes no effort to cover that up. Camping, woods, wet earth, cellar floor, musty basement…call it what you will, but not much in this world warms my heart the way a piping hot cup of shu does. It courses it's way to the back of my mouth and wakes up every taste bud along the way. The cha'qi hits and a subtle sweetness sits at the front of my mouth, while the back of my throat dries and the soup tingles all the way down until it warms my stomach.

When I first blogged about this particular tea, I remember writing that it instantly took me back to a time when I was camping in the mountains during a rock climbing / white water rafting excursion. We would come back to camp in the evenings, cook dinner, drink around the fire, and share laughs from the day. One night in particular, it rained and my tent was flooded. I ended up sleeping in the CR-V (oh I loathed that thing...fortunately it wasn't mine). The following morning, I remember hanging up all of my things to dry them out, and somehow being totally okay with the fact that so much of what I brought along with me was ruined. I was the first one awake that morning and drank green tea out of a large rounded mug that was, ten minutes prior, home to milk and cereal. I thought about how happy I was that the rain had stopped, and remembered that nothing lasts forever; not rain, not life, nothing. A lot has changed since then, but there are some events that, simple as they may seem, un-shape us. They let us carry on as we are, unaffected by the influences of the outside world.

Shu takes me to a moment in time where there is nothing but the here and the now. It reminds me that all will be well. It's not demanding, it's not overly expensive, and in most cases waits patiently to be drank. No matter what sits in store, it will pass. It drops me off to a place where I can think clearly, slow myself down and let go.

Sometimes I need reminders that
one gets from life exactly what one seeks.


Brett said...

viva la 熟!

Anonymous said...

Hello, I tried the Hong Yun after reading your first posting. This was my first shu experience. I have found the cake has improved in smell and taste over time. Have a great New Year! Eric

Jamus said...

Brett, 熟茶为胜利!

Eric, I really enjoyed this tea. I remember the first time I brewed it. I watched oil slicks dance around in the cha hai; I've always associated oily soup and/or leaves with good tea...at least, that's been my experience. Hopefully the mountain of these little buggers turn into something lovely as the years pass by. We'll see! Thanks for reading and happy new year to you as well!

best wishes,