“The Arabs used to say,
When a stranger appears at your door,
feed him for three days
before asking who he is,
where he’s come from,
where he’s headed.
That way, he’ll have strength
enough to answer.
Or, by then you’ll be
such good friends
you don’t care.
Let’s go back to that.
Rice? Pine nuts?
Here, take the red brocade pillow.
My child will serve water
to your horse.
No, I was not busy when you came!
I was not preparing to be busy.
That’s the armor everyone put on
to pretend they had a purpose
in the world.
I refuse to be claimed.
Your plate is waiting.
We will snip fresh mint
into your tea. ”
~ Naomi Shihab Nye, Red Brocade.
Few evening ago, and after a series of long days at work, I was driving home dreaming of arriving, taking my shoes off, rinsing my feet in hot water, and steeping a pot of tea.
By the time all this was done and I was sitting alone at the kitchen table giving tea more time, I realized that this is it, really!
I didn’t want to drink tea.
This was it, all I needed was,
To walk home from my car, parked just far enough. Not too far, my feet were killing me. But not too close. I needed the short walk at dusk. So I can take a little sky and bird song into my dreams.
I needed to run hot water on my feet, then icy cold, to get the sensation back in them,
to wash the tea pot from the leftovers of the day before.
To feel the tea pot like I’m the craftsman making it, shaping the metal. To feel his hands…
To slowly pour the boiling water on the tea leaves. Each leaf telling the story of the hand that picked it.
To walk out, barefoot, and snip fresh mint.
To sit and wait for the tea…
This is it! That was all I wanted…