More pondering over the tea kettle, awaiting that all important moment when the water has reached the boil for steeping the tea. There is a poem by Robert Frost that speaks of the road less travelled and that taking that road for him turned out to make all the difference. Well, us tea drinkers can travel the path less taken. Of course, it applies to anything in our lives, but seems particularly appropriate to tea.
The Easy and Oft Used Path
In life it seems the easier path is the one that every one else is also travelling. The analogy stems from the time when fearless (or perhaps foolhearty?) explorers cut through the brush to forge a trail that others followed. Everyone would then end up travelling the same route, which may or may not lead to the destination they were seeking. This could be something like everyone buying a particular company stock because some financial mogul did, or flocking to a particular vacation spot because a celebrity likes to go there. It can also be something more esoteric such as choosing a career path because “it’s what my father and his father did.”
With tea, the easy path could be when you buy the most popular brands simply because they are popular, choose what tea to drink based on which celebrity endorsed it, or glom onto the latest tea trend that comes along just to be part of the “in” crowd. Of course, easy tea paths could also involve buying the standard tea brand at the grocery store that your mom used to make when you were growing up, or just refraining from making a bit of effort to learn more about tea and thereby increase your enjoyment of a tasty beverage with an astounding range of flavors, textures, and aromas.
The Path Less Taken
Where would we be without that fearless explorer forging a path ahead of us? Well, probably off forging our own path. But the point is that someone has to forge that path. Do you have what it takes to be a path forger? Are you the first “kid on the block” to have the lastest gadget? Are you more likely to start your own business, or instead do you stay content with your day job?
When it comes to tea, paths less taken involve being among the first to try guayusa from South America, or start up a tea shop that features only the rarest and finest teas from Japanese greens to Yunnan pu-erhs, Thai and Taiwanese oolongs, and the best Darjeelings. This path takes dedication, a commitment to learning on a continuing basis, and a true path forger spirit.
You’re at that fork in the road. Do you take the well-trod path or the path less taken? It’s up to you.
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