Looking at the world in a leaf

This morning I bent over the kitchen counter to better inspect a small pile of green mint leaves spread out on a paper towel. Yesterday I cut back my overgrown plant of hierba buena, and a friend suggested I dry the foliage and make tea.  But what were those little brown nodules on the back of some of the largest leaves? Are they bugs, fungus, or just some blight from all the rain we’ve had? Would tea made with these leaves be safe to drink? And just how dry do mint leaves have to be to make the best tea?

 “I should google it,” was my immediate thought, one I have about once an hour.  It’s a given these days that if you have a question, someone, somewhere will have posted an answer; and if not, you can post the question, and expect a speedy response.  “I’ll bet some Birkenstock-shod earth mother in Vermont would know,” I thought, “or some organic farmer in Mexico, or even further south in the hemisphere. Where else do people drink mint tea? China? Don’t know. Definitely the Middle East: Egypt, Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Iran?” Images of white pajama-clad figures sitting on bentwood chairs in sidewalk cafes came to mind.

About the time I was harvesting my mint leaves, people in Iran had a few hours unfettered access to Facebook and the rest of the internet universe. But the door slammed shut, as so many doors do. Anyone hooked up to an Iranian server has no direct access to information on how to prepare authentic Texas barbecue. Conversely, the U.S. blockade of websites ending in .ir remains largely unbreached. They want to keep us safe from teaching each other how to make bombs. But don’t you think most of the people in the world would rather make mint tea or barbecue?

6 responses to “Looking at the world in a leaf

  1. Susan, I love the way you weave this simple, innocent inquiry into the much larger and profound issue of our “global community.” While governments – and the corporations that own them (yes, own them!) – continue to wage war (with ammunitions and economic sanctions), the freedoms of decent people are controlled and limited in countless ways. I wonder what catastrophe it might take to shift the priorities from the money game to the caring-about-Life game…

    • Thanks, Aysha. I think we’ve had enough catastrophes, don’t you? So, so many in recent history. I don’t know that we can count on disaster to bring enlightenment. In ancient history (i.e. Biblical, but stay with me here) it didn’t come through earthquake, wind, or fire, but in the “still, small voice” that Elijah (or Elisha? I never get those two straight) heard after all the tumult and chaos. Maybe if we just share those still, small moments — like how to make tea or barbecue — individually, one on one, with love and attention to detail, the “big picture” will start to shift, pixel by pixel. I really don’t know how else to make that BIG difference except through teensy little personal moments. I have power there. And speaking of teensy, a hummingbird just flew into my bathroom. Think I’ll go “make a difference.”

      • Excellent point… but we are not so teensy. I think you do know how to make a bigger difference – as a writer, a speaker, an influencer, sharing the wisdom of the still small voice and the love and attention we can bring to valuing all of Life.

  2. Good point! I make mint tea with freshly picked mint leaves. Delicious.

  3. Hi Susan, Your post is about more than tea! However, I make mint tea by putting fresh mint leaves into boiled water, and letting them soak. Very refreshing. Karyn

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