birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

Tea for Two

It’s hasn’t reached ritual status exactly, but we are accustomed to having tea first thing every morning. And when I say, first thing, I mean staggering into the dark kitchen at 4am to turn the fire on under the kettle which has been pre-filled the night before because we are too groggy to do it in the morning, the cups and teapot stored overnight in the oven where the way too hot oven pilot flame keeps them nice and warm, ready to fill.

We are absurdly early risers and, while we love coffee, it’s a little challenging at 4 am. Even at 5 am, it feels harsh.

We are not awake intentionally this early in the day. It’s merely a factor of our poor sleep performance. Tea sounds very soothing at that hour. We like it milky and hot. Black tea, not green. We require some stimulation, after all.

Our teapot holds 4 cups which is perfect for us. Two cups each. One of us often sinks back into sleep after the tea infusion. One of us does not. I am the does not.

I often feel sleepy after awakening at 4 am but as I begin to drift, I become aware that I have to rid myself of two cups of tea. And that wakes me up again.

The tea drinking takes place in bed. Our eyes open early, but we don’t get up. I myself, can stay in bed and read for many hours in the morning. As I work at home and there are no longer any children, there is no need for me to bustle about showering and dressing to scurry out the door. I can just mosey into my office space whenever it appeals to me to do so.

I’m not gloating. Well, maybe a little. But my work can take place at any time. If I choose to start at 11am, I can. If I want to work until 10pm, no one will stop me.

My husband usually brings my tea to me in bed. He gets a certain pride out of doing this. A way of spoiling me. It seems all wrong now if I were to make the tea and bring it in. I am trespassing on his territory. Hey, it’s fine with me. I am more than happy to have tea delivered while I stay cozy and warm beneath the duvet, reading whatever fresh hell I find on the iPad. 

I am pleased to be spoiled. But it’s gotten to the point where I feel a little ticked when he is out of town and, damn, do I actually have to make my own tea at 4 am? That’s not civilized.

Shape Shifters

Snow Day