Books and Tea | July, 2015
Existential thoughts and the world’s longest porch
This past weekend, my family and I returned to Mackinac Island, MI for another Fourth of July Weekend. Like most family traditions, it’s near and dear to me. In fact, it’s a trip I’m not willing to miss even if I’m living across the country. It was a short stay, only four days and three nights, but quantity isn’t a factor in the trip’s charm. What makes it so special is its familiarity. We stay at the same hotel, often in the same room, and do the same things. Like myself, the destination is old-fashioned. We lodge at the Grand Hotel, an elegant Michigan icon that reminds me of classic films from the 30s and 40s – or if you don’t watch old movies, picture “The Grand Budapest Hotel”. The hotel claims to have the world’s largest porch, which looks out on one of the most breathtaking views of the Straits of Mackinac you could ever imagine.
Since I’ve been coming to the hotel for years, its familiarity is a pleasure for all my senses. The slightly crooked hallways smell and look the same, the live jazz music still plays during dinner, and the hot tub still feels good on my back. I’m sure we all have places like this in our lives; destinations that can’t possibly be replaced, since nearly a lifetime’s worth of memories and feelings happened there. But familiarity often leads to sentimentality, which is why I spent a lot of this year’s trip thinking about my life.
I find annual vacations, especially ones spent with people I care greatly for, give me conflicting feelings of relief and worry, at least at the start. For example, the first few moments are lost in victory as I’m thrilled to be back at a place I’ve enjoyed for many years. Next comes the insidious thoughts of, “will this happen again next year?” and “will I be with the same people?” resulting in sentimentality. It doesn’t take a Buddhist monk to tell you that suffering arises from attachment, but it’s still bittersweet. It’s the existential crisis of life, the fact that things won’t stay the same nor will they last forever, played out in a much shorter narrative.
To my relief, the beauty and charm of the destination didn’t allow me to worry about such things for more than a moment. Whether it was my Dad’s honest laugh or a sudden breeze, my senses always brought me back to the present.
On a different note, the Grand Hotel is the perfect place to drink tea and read a book. Enjoy.
Book and Tea Pairings for July, 2015
The Wild Palms by William Faulkner
This is a guest submission by my friend Raven. She was inspired to read The Wild Palms because Godard references it in his film “Breathless”.
A Big Life (in advertising) by Mary Wells Lawrence
Guest contributor Lu Ann and I seem to have much in common: we’re both marketing consultants, tea drinkers, and bloggers. Check out her magnificent tea blog The Cup of Life.
Tea: Organic Bai Mu Dan White Tea from Tattle Tea
The Pump House Gang by Tom Wolfe
I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve never read anything by Tom Wolfe. Well, thanks to the 50-cent rack at Bargain Books in Van Nuys, that’s about to change.
Emma by Jane Austen
Tea: Earl Grey
The Basil and Josephine Stories by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, MI, offered the perfect setting for Fitzgerald’s erudite prose. No, I didn’t actually eat the book.
Have a book and tea pairing you’d like to share? Connect with me on Instagram and use #BooksAndTea or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org