Roosters are impatient. The stars are still twinkling softly, but every five beats or so they cry out, sweet and melancholic like a muezzin, so it must be tea time, whatever the sky says.
I have no tea.
This is my first morning at Eumelia, a bio-dynamic, organic paradise that combines farming with philosophy (and fine living), one of those philosophies being that the earth is burgeoning with a wealth of beauty and of food, and it’s often best to accept what it has decided to give us, and sometimes, to let ourselves be surprised.
A bevy of dogs greets me at the door, and the roosters are still at it. The cicadas won’t be singing for another hour or two, but there are swallows and sparrows. The sun is not up, but it seem like everyone else is. We make our way to the herb spiral under a pale cool sky to find something to make tea with.
And we all find everything we need- some rough mint, lavender blossoms, wild fennel fronds for me, and my camera for the dog – he thinks I will chase him for it, and he’s right.
The sky is gold but the sun hasn’t cleared the hill. It is around 6:30. Before making tea I want to see the roosters (they’re not at all hard to find – they’re still at it).
They must have an internal clock – it’s hard to see the night ebbing from inside their coop. (If you are an urban person like me, you may be surprised by their size- nothing to do with a dressed supermarket chicken, plus feathers. You could hold but one of them cradled in both arms, and if you needed to hold two, you would have to hang them from their feet. I would do neither- they look redoubtable.)
There’s a weathered table in front of the bungalow- I toss the herbs here and put the water on to boil. Then I give them a rinse (they are organic but there is still dust, and dogs) and crush them gently to free up the aroma. The scent is so fresh and so strong I’m afraid it will wake up my friend Janet. Just as I pour the water over them, the first rays of dawn hit the trees.
An olive tree behind our bungalow has seen over a millenium of sunrises. I want to see how it likes this one-
The tree, majestic at any hour, glows in the first rays of dawn.
The tea is perfect.