Wednesday, September 9, 2015

A Down To The River Moment

It's been nearly 16 years since Gene and I packed up both of our cars and drove from Boise, Idaho to Southern California to start our new married life together. And while we enjoy the perks of living so close to the ocean, the truth is that I'm a mountain girl at heart.

Columbia River, Oregon
To scratch that itch, we used the long weekend to fly to Portland and take a mini road trip through the Blue Mountains of northeastern Oregon toward our final destination of Boise. As our drive began, there were lush, green pine forests in every direction. The late afternoon sky was blue with just a few fluffy white clouds, and then there was the river. The Columbia River. Surrounded alternately by steep mountains, thick forest and mossy banks, to me this is one of the most beautiful sights in the world.

We stopped at Skamania Lodge (because - how great is the name?) for the night and enjoyed being right in the thick of it. Mountains. Trees. River. I soaked it in. It fed my soul.

The complete contentment of the time there made me think about my connection to other rivers. One in particular came to mind. The Doke River of Bihar, India. I've never been there, but I've met the man who has nurtured a tea garden on the banks of that river, Mr. Rajiv Lochan.

The Doke River. Photo courtesy of Doke Tea
His family recently sent me a small collection of teas, and one in particular, has become a fast favorite. Although I've enjoyed it before, it's been awhile, and that first taste...  Well, it, too, fed my soul.

Doke Black Fusion. It has everything I want in a black tea - it's hearty, on the verge of bitter. There's a slight edge that brightens it and keeps it from sliding too far down the bitter path. While it's recommended to steep for 1-2 minutes, I find (happily) that I can steep it for longer. It only grows more robust rather than astringent. I was not at all surprised to learn that this year, Doke Black Fusion won a Gold Star at the Great Taste Awards. It's just that good.

This weekend was a good reminder to me on the importance of getting back to your essentials every once in a while. What is it that immediately calms you or makes you smile. Is it a place? A friend? A macaron? A cup of tea? Whatever it is, find a moment to be there.

Feed your soul.

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