Between Here & Home: For the love of the leaf

​PEOPLE say I’m obsessed with you, and to some extent they’re right. 
I do wake thinking of you every morning. I long to have you beside me; to taste you on my lips.
A morning spent without you is unthinkable. 
A few hours without your particular magic and I’m irritable; can’t think straight.
You are my calm. My contentment. My meditation.
I can’t even remember when we first met.
It feels like you have been part of me my whole life. 
I know you were a friend of my grandmother. I remember your scent in her Sunday kitchen. 
The sound of your singing as irresistible as a Siren’s call, luring the men in from their lawn mowing.
I still think of you whenever I smell freshly cut grass.
You are such a part of me that I often forget your long and lively past. 
The millions you seduced along the way. 
There was a time when maps of the world were redrawn in your name. 
Whole nations were in awe of you. They fought for you, traded their most precious resources for you, travelled to the ends of the world to ensure your survival and effluxion.
In turn your generosity knew no bounds. You changed lives everywhere you went. Your popularity built cities, funded roads and railroads, paid salaries, shaped the future of whole continents.
You were the engine that powered a world economy. 
The wheels of empire turned on your jewel-like radiance.
Yet you happily share your love with all. You pick no favourites; make even the poorest man feel like an emperor in your presence.
For me, you have always been there when I need you most. When the world feels overwhelming you make everything okay. When I’m at my most vulnerable you’re always there to calm me. When I’m feeling suffocated and can’t face another human being, I still crave your company.
When parties become intolerable, you’re the one I sneak off to a quiet room with. When my football team is hopeless, you’re always there to distract me. When I’m chilled to the bone, you warm me. Through the heat of summer, you refresh me.
Your versatility knows no bounds. 
Yes, I’m obsessed, in love perhaps, but surely it’s the healthiest of obsessions.
Clearly others have noticed the way we’re drawn to one another. 
The way I look at you, and hold you, and bring you to my lips.
For my birthday last week I received the most perfect of gifts. A Wedgwood bone china cup and saucer. China – your birthplace no less. A kind of homecoming for you.
It fits my hand like a glove. 
You will adore it, my liquid jade… my Camellia sinensis… my tea.

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