Writing On The Wall – Tea and Murals

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Bedford-Stuyvesant Shows Its Colors

 “Look at the colors!”

Every time I now see a mural I’m reminded of my nephew and his excited impressions upon first encountering an artistic wall. It is a lesson the then-toddler taught me about approaching unfamiliar situations.

It’s a matter of perspective.

One day we took the children on a walking tour of Philadelphia, sans anything routinely tourist. (We must, after all, set good examples for our children and start them exercising at an early age. The fact that they fall asleep faster as a result is an added bonus.)

Walking a city gives the pedestrian occasion to observe the landscape and the people who live there up close and personal. If you want to know a city, walk it.

Philadelphia is ideal for walking, not only for its historic landmarks but also for its being home to the nation’s largest public arts program: the Philadelphia Anti-Graffiti Network and Mural Arts Program.

Thanks to former mayor W. Wilson Goode, Jane Golden and countless other artists, my nephew could see beauty where it did not previously exist. One person sees a wall. Another person sees an unused canvass.

Murals represent applied creativity.

Tasting What We Cannot See

Colors In The Cup

Whatever the tea leaf endured prior we taste in the cup. The cup literally holds the tea’s history and how it progressed. This is known as the tea’s terroir. Before plucking the first leaf, the climate, geography and other factors surrounding the tea plant all combine to give the leaf its unique properties. What we taste is what the tea leaf encountered in the process of becoming consumable.

What we call ‘black tea’ in the United States appears copper, golden, amber, etc. and represents the sum of its processing method.

Again, it’s a matter of perspective.

Like a mural, tea is also applied creativity. One person sees a withered and shriveled leaf. Another sees the possibility of those same leaves unfurling and revealing its complexities. That’s what differentiates a tea master: the ability to see what others don’t until they are able to taste it.

Thanks to my nephew, I’m looking for the colors in tea, murals, and yes, people. They are as bright as the opportunities they present — if only we care to see and to appreciate them.

Cups up!

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