Lettuce, Tea ceremony, Lunch Ceremony

A sunny winter morning. I’ve gathered a lettuce, roman variety, from the little orchard that I have in my terrace; long, shiny, elegant emerald green leaves. While I was preparing the salad I remembered a recent lecture by Benet Casablancas on Haydn. He analysed, bar by bar, the “suspense” effect when the predictable evolution of a phrase is interrupted by an unexpected intermission. How many precious details we miss in a superficial hearing! When listening to this passage again, how far the islamic anger for some cartoons seems to be! and how near and similar to that intolerance -boycott included- the spanish refusal to the catalan federal pretensions.

The salad is really fine. Is it because of the lettuce? the olive oil? perhaps because I am much more attentive like when listening to Haydn after the lecture? An Esthetics about salads? Why not? didn’t not the japanese create an Esthetics and even a kind of religion around Tea Ceremony?

Not long ago I reread Okakura Kakuzo’s “Book of Tea“. Tea ceremony, or how to transform an everyday act, like invite a guest and offer something to eat and drink, into an opportunity to worship beauty, to have in mind zen budism, sobriety, worship the imperfect and ephemeral, to formalize a rite of sensivity. Guests reach the Tea Room through a garden, in silence. They wash their hands to purify themselves and enter the room wich lacks any decoration but for the kakemono, a scroll with a painting and some buddist scriptures on it, specially chosen fot that occasion. Three meal courses are served and after that guests exit to the garden while the host prepares tea. The scroll is removed and flowers placed instead. Guests wash again and enter. Tea is served according a certain rite and using specific items, particularly a ceramic bowl. There are about thirteen items, all of them carefully chosen, each one an art work, which are examined and commented by the guests. After a some conversation another tea is served and they take leave.

I wonder what should be our culturally equivalent of the tea ceremony, here in Barcelona. Some theologian has said that eucharistic liturgy in the east should be carried with rice and tea instead of bread and wine. So, I guess that “tea ceremony” in the mediterraean area should be a kind of “early lunch ceremony”. Instead of the tea room in a japanese garden we would dispose a sort cabin in a neat orchard, white plastered walls, a cover out of cane. Nearby a pool and running water.



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