Last week I was in Hood River, Oregon at the Columbia Center for the Arts for a presentation on Meditations on the Way of Tea. It was a beautiful venue in downtown Hood River, within sight of the majestic Columbia River. As part of the month long activities for La Lluvia/The Rain art exhibition, it was done jointly with Internationally acclaimed haiku poet, Maggie Chula.
It was held in the theater and we had a lighting and sound professional light it up and adjust the sound levels. We set up a temporary tea room and mizuya, and even had a sound check and lighting check.
After introductions, Maggie set the mood first by reading some of her poetry relating to the rain. By the time the temae started the audience was in rapt silence. You could hear the sound of the kettle boiling, the water being ladled into the bowl, the sound of the whisk as the host made tea. The guests were served a sweet and tea. During the temae, Maggie read haiku to call attention to certain things:
wiping the tea bowl
~ from This Moment by Margaret Chula
What I love most about these demonstrations is the Question and Answer period. It keeps me present and makes me think about what people are interested in and want to know about Chado. One of the questions that I loved was, how long did it take you to prepare for this presentation today? The proposal for it began in April. There was a visit to the site in August, and several coordination meetings. We set up the tea room at noon for a 2:00 start time.
But in reality, I have been preparing for This Moment for 35 years. All of my training and experience has prepared me to be here now.
Special thanks to Stephanie Wilson, teishu; Randy Burks, hanto; Barbara Walker, mizuya cho; and Janelle Rogers, mizuya.