A hike up a mountain in the morning. Parting fog exposes the forest floor.
A path covered in gold and amber leaves.
Rocks and trees, mushrooms and things of all manner of sorts.
A large stone beside a waterfall becomes a platform to sit upon…
…a table enough for a pot of tea and cup to reside.
Rest the mind for a while and brew some roasted tea.
Hot water from an old thermos pours and brings out flavors locked inside.
Floral notes, incense notes, aroma of vanilla and cacao blend and meld with the scent of desiccating leaves, earth and wet rocks.
Colors deepen as time progresses.
A single pot and a single cup…
…results in three stages of one steep.
Opening leaves unfurl and uncurl like flags in a soft breeze.
Slowly, over time, like the season.
Softly at first.
Then more pronounced.
The mind sees bitterness, spiciness, color and form.
Loudness, quietness, voidness and full.
Trapped and lost, wandering through the woods of sensation.
Groping in the darkness of these twisted timber maples and oaks and pines.
Down the small rivulet streams the marks of death from the year and from the season, floating downward towards the tidal bore, downward towards the ocean’s end, merging with the everything expansiveness…
…to become rain and dew and life, blood and tears and viscera in the body, cellular walls and components of rare earth metals that are placed inside cellular phones.
Up in the mountains beside the stream none of this and all of this are packed inside my traveler’s pouch, packed tightly inside this tiny teapot.
Steeped with memories. Steeped with time.
Steeped with the fondness of an Autumn’s morning, the sound of birds reverberating through the forest and the absence of combustion engine clamor against the gentle din of the water rolling off of rocks down the ravine I’ve been climbing up.
Too much time has been put between the last time and now since I trekked up this steep hill and away from the world that occupies my mind.
“Why did I not make this time before?” becomes the cane which I whip myself with.
But, beside this water’s edge I let go of the rod and pick up the more refined tools of self-exploration.
A hand-hewn pot filled with hand-hewn leaves. The textures of a world the earth provides. Kiln-fired clay. Basket-roasted oolong. A color caught in liquid mirrored in the color caught in Autumn’s leaves.
Deepening the breath once more before I pack these items up. Back into my book bag satchel.
Back down the mountain to where people roam.
Back down into my body as I place one foot before the next over stones covered in gold leaves and spreading moss.
Back down to where I can recollect these thoughts as memories, somehow changed by time and reflection and whatever happened in between this now and that now.
Even the taste of tea and the forest smell will have changed by then.
Turned into an object of sorts, far beyond their original bodies.
These, too, will eventually evaporate.
Like time. Like the seasons.
Back into the earth, to rot away and feed future worms, feed future trees, to regrow a forest somewhere off in the distance we cannot yet imagine.