On Tuesday, June 30, 2015, I served tea in a beautiful cedar tea house in Griffith Park in Los Angeles. A group of artists constructed a Japanese inspired tea house with wood from Griffith Park. In 2007, a wildfire destroyed a portion of Griffith Park. The artist took the dead, charred wood and turned it into a beautiful structure, representing peace and love.
The tea house reminded me of the Japanese wabi style. In simplistic terms, wabi embraces the beauty in the rustic simplistically in nature. A nice big window faces the beautiful Los Angeles landscape.The window frames the landscape, cityscape, birds and clear blue sky. The tea house stands on a piece of concrete slab. They even build a beautiful cedar bench.
At dawn, I saw a line of tea lights weaving up the trail. As the sun peaked out, I started my brief tea ceremony for the first three tea drinkers. I offered a first flush sencha from Japan. My lecture was short and sweet.
I explained the essence of tea ceremony is about love and peace. I brewed their tea with love in my heart. As the tea brewed, we all took deep breaths, observing the scenery. As I poured the tea, I explained the history of tea in Japan. I invited them to inhale the aroma and silently sip the tea and enjoy the peaceful moment. Then I offered them a sweet almond cookie to balance the slight bitterness of the tea. After a few minutes, I thanked them for visiting the Griffith Park Tea House and wished them a great day.
Peaces of wood hung next to the door frame with pencils. Guests wrote a wish or a note on the wood and hung it on a peg inside the tea house. After hanging their wood, guests rang the bell.
I love ceremony!
I did not know much about the project before I arrived at the tea house. I knew I loved tea. I loved sharing my love of tea. It turned out to be a great morning.
Here are a few articles about the Griffith Park Tea House: