Right at this moment, I’m sprawling on my sage-green antique Chesterfield with second-degree sunburn down my face, arms, back, and legs (small price to pay for a day of tide-pooling at Hampton Beach; few things please me as much as combing for shells and finding tiny, delicate burgundy-banded hermit crabs instead). From the perspective of physical comfort, this aspect of my here-and-now is unpleasant in the extreme. I’m also drinking leftover iced Jasmine Oolong that’s been sweetened with wild rose honey.
If misery loves company, then my preferred company is solitude on a rainy Sunday afternoon in which I have no obligations except for the consumption of Camellia sinensis and writing 3,000 words I’ve promised to a friend. My partner spends Sundays doing back-to-back tai chi classes, one of which he teaches; left to my own devices from 9am until 3pm on this, our so-called Day of Rest, I can clear up to 10,000 words if undisturbed. Still, said partner is forever getting on my case about learning to live in the present: well, here it is. My skin is on fire, my words are electric, and the tea? Oh, were you curious?
Try it hot, sometime, too, and make sure you don’t skip the second brewing; it’s then you’ll hit the orchid note to top it all off.
I’m forever thinking ahead, making lists upon lists, but it’s the days like this that I live for. Peace and quiet, perfect focus, and, baby, just watch me burn.
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A.J. Odasso is Senior Poetry Editor at Strange Horizons.