Greatness in small things

A charming display of teapots greeted us at a Pennsylvania bed & breakfast inn, Jun 2015

A charming display of teapots greeted us at a Pennsylvania bed & breakfast inn, June 2015

“When tea becomes ritual, it takes its place at the heart of our ability to see greatness in small things.” Muriel Barbery

Okay, so it’s now definitely winter– if you’re very far north of the tropics, that is.  Despite the deceptively warm days of this past December, cold weather will be our frequent companion for weeks to come.  Time for bundling up– or perhaps I should say settling down? for some cozy comforts to chase away the chill.  Whether your day will take you indoors or out, be sure to make time for tea.

Note that I said “make time for tea,” not “have some tea” or “drink tea.”  One of the great transforming qualities of becoming a tea lover is the inevitability that it will become a centering ritual, calming our nerves even before we take that first taste.  Coffee drinkers also understand this, though that beverage is more often associated with busy days and drinking “on the run” — a shame, really, given the salutary benefits of serene sipping.

This winter morning, I invite you to sit down with me for a few minutes of reflective enjoyment. The kettle is on, and there has never been a better time to appreciate the greatness of small things.  What are some of the everyday joys you look forward to this week?

This post was first published seven years ago today. The original post, comments and photo are linked, along with two other related posts, below. These links to related posts, and their thumbnail photos, do not appear in the blog feed; they are only visible when viewing the individual posts by clicking on each one. I have no idea why, nor do I know how they choose the related posts. That’s just the way WordPress does things.


  1. Chris

    Hi Julia!
    I owe you an email. I’ve been unnecessarily “busy” through the holidays and the start of the new year. Soon though!
    Since my retirement last summer, I’m slowly developing some habits, or a morning routine. Definitely enjoying the morning quiet time “sipping” my coffee and reading. Reflection is good. It serves as a spiritual discipline to sharpen my appreciation and enhance my gratitude, of all things, and especially the small things. Enjoy your day!

    • Hi Chris, isn’t it funny how life seems to get busier after retirement? I remember my Daddy saying that he felt busier than ever when he retired– although I’m sure, in his case, that had much to do with my mother, who never had a problem coming up with things to assign to anyone close at hand! 😀

      I think the relaxed morning time is maybe the best thing about getting older. Not only do we have the time to enjoy our early hours each day, but we feel (at least I do) that in some sense, we’ve earned the break. So keep sipping and smiling!

  2. Julia,
    You have always made a great case for tea. It needs no accompaniment. An elixir all its own.

    • Thanks Alan! I’m enjoying my second (or third?) mug as I write this! I consider tea to be one of the greatest blessings in my life, right up there with books and other cozy pleasures.

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