1910, eyes were pointed towards the sky as Halley’s Comet made its return on April 20th. It won’t be seen again until 1986. Many months later in October Professor Robert Williams Wood will publish the first infrared photographs in the Royal Photographic Society’s journal. However, Caleb Castell cares nothing about what has passed or what is still to come because he is on a quest to find the most precious and rare of flowering teas. A quest that started many, many years earlier.
Tea had always been a big part of Caleb’s life as tea was a very important thing to his mother. His father had died when he was just a little boy and left him alone with his mother. She worked very hard and long hours as a seamstress for an uptown men’s suit shop. It was barely enough to get them by so treats were few and far between. When his mother wanted to treat them it was always with tea.
Now his mother and tea were almost like a sacred experience. She kept a small tea cabinet that held the very best pieces of china that she had either inherited or managed to purchase over the years. On their tea nights she would make a special setting at the small table where they took their dinners. She would light candles and drape everything in beautiful scraps of material she had managed to sneak from her work. It was all about atmosphere for her and creating a warm and intimate setting for her and young Caleb. For each one of these special teas she picked a different flavor. She would brew the tea and put it in her special silver tea pot and go through great dramatic gestures serving her son. Then she would sit, serve herself and together they would slowly sip their special tea. Then, with the tea warm in their bellies and the air smelling richly of its aroma, his mother would tell him old fairy tales that had been told to her in much the same way by her grandmother and mother… Read the rest of this entry