We are blessed in the Pacific Northwest with abundant, clean and good tasting water. We can drink our fill straight from the tap to quench our thirst without bad smells or off taste. But recently the city of Portland had an alert that e coli was found in the water system and everyone was advised to boil water before drinking, brushing teeth or cooking. It happened during our 35th anniversary event, but at home as well I was reminded what a convenience good, clean water is straight from the tap.
When I was at Midorikai, our final chaji was at a tea room with no running water. That meant we had to go the the well in the morning and haul two five gallon containers up the hill to the tea house. Believe me, hauling 5 gallons in kimono uphill is a lot of work. These 10 gallons were all we had to pre-wash everything, boil the water for tea, water the garden, and fill the tsukubai. We were very careful with every bit of water and made sure that nothing was wasted.
It is the same thing with matcha. We are fortunate to have the convenience of pre-ground tea leaves sealed in an airtight container. It takes about an hour to grind enough tea for a chaji, so I am sure that if I had to grind it myself, that I would be very careful about spilling and wasting the matcha when I sifted it or transferred it from one container to the another.
We forget that these things: water, tea, electricity — are all convenience factors. Part of living the way of tea is to recognized that most of what we use are precious resources and be very careful not to waste anything. It is good for the environment, good for the planet, good for each other and good for our souls.