|Stone compression means a looser press|
|Second Steeping following two quick rinses|
The sister in the upper right cameo photo was a cousin of mine, and the dearest friend I ever had. Sister Alice's brother married one of my paternal grandmother's nieces. We became close friends in the years before I left the community, and before the time when she served as what was once called the Mother General. Alice was a loving, happy person. Her gift to me was a lot of love and gentle attention to my sensitive shy side with cups of herbal tea. Without all this, instead of the tea drunk I am today, I would have become an alcoholic, or worse. Sister Alice had a stroke suddenly around age 62, which left her almost unable to talk. I visited her a few times and heard her frustration with losing speech and other functions that left her in a wheelchair and living in the convent nursing home much too early.
The photo below my cousin is a nun who was my first director in formation, a position once called the Director of Postulants. Sister Leclare was also a nurse, and had been a missionary nun. When I lived with her, she had just started a clinic for Laotian and Thai refugees who were moving into our city at the time. A no-nonsense and energetic person with a large open heart, her gift to me was guts and some backbone. I lived with her at the time when I found myself in a school shooting situation. She listened with some sympathy in the days that followed, and eventually told me to stop moping and get on with it. I doubt I could have gone on to work in dangerous forensic mental health settings without the courage I got from Sister Leclare.
|Sister Alice, upper right; Sister Leclare lower right. I knew the other two on this page, but not well.|
These sisters passed away last fall, and I had asked to be informed when Sister Alice passed, but no one did and I missed her funeral. The tea I'm drinking helps me in a pensive moment like this, making me glad to be a tea drinker and not someone needing to drown my sorrows in booze. Because this would be one of those moments to do so. However, I've known of these deaths for some months now and today is more of a moment to think of the sisters fondly. I also notice in the newsletter that the community dropped the age to join the convent down to age 45 for the top end. They must have done that to make sure Old Cwyn doesn't come back. hehe Tea drunks probably shouldn't apply.
|A few darker buds and one with a thick stem.|
|A happy pile of leaves.|
In my realm of puerh, for me this is tea I will want to drink up before the drying air of winter returns. For me it is a cake that would be a shame to dry out and store. It is good to drink fresh and give as a gift to friends to drink right now. Sister Alice and I drank a lot of tea back when she lived in Woodruff, and I think I'll have some more of this gushu for them all, in memory of her.
Requiescat in Pace, my sisters. And thank you, because I would not be here right now, as I am, without you.