I remember one of the most memorable chakai was at the Japanese Garden in Winter. The snow was softly falling and it was only the host and I. The scroll hanging in the tokonoma read, “Everything’s important, nothing really matters.”
He had opened up all of the windows to the tea house and made tea in the cold. We could see the clouds of our own breath and soon we were breathing in unison. The world was silent and we could only hear the sound of the kettle – matsu kaze — sound of the wind in the pines. We sat in the tea room, watching the snow fall onto the moss in the garden and holding onto our bowls of tea to warm our hands. Max didn’t like to say much, and grumbled when there were too many guests, but it was only me and him that day, sitting in silence, drinking tea, watching the snow fall, listening to the sound of the kettle.