Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Furo Season

Furo Season by Donna D'Orio

In the world of tea May 1ST marks the beginning of the summer season called Furo Season, which lasts until October, 31ST.  At the end of October the season for tea returns to winter and is known as Ro Season. During Ro, the hearth which is called Ro is sunken; snug in its underground cove near the center of the room the kettle simmers water for tea while providing heat for the chilly tea room.  In summer, the hearth is raised above ground and moved to the edge of the tea room providing an open cool atmosphere. The summer hearths, known as Furo, are the portable braziers used in the tea room to heat the hot water kettle or kama to make the tea. The moving of the hearth is symbolic of the changing season and celebrated as Hatsuburo or first tea. The tatami mats are renewed, summer utensils brought out of hiding and Wagashi (bean paste sweets) are served in celebration of good health.

The first (hatsu) harvesting of Camellia tips for Matcha.

Our Teishu (host) graces the tea room with her delightful spring Kimono held snug by a bright and cheery Obi (the sash worn with the kimono).  Soft steps brushing against tatami, the ring of Hishaku (bamboo ladle) against the Futa-Oki (ladle rest), and the delicate song of steam rising from the iron kettle joined in chorus with squeaky Obi (squeaky Obi are of fine quality). The sounds of the tea room, each unique meld together creating an atmosphere the guests grow to crave as part of tea. I relax into the quiet song of the Chashitsu (tea room) and with a calm grace anticipate a flavorful bowl of Usucha, thin tea.

One of my favorite moments in tea is when the Teishu places the utensils. I am always curious and excited to see the Chawan (tea bowl). Tonight’s bowl held the theme of the willow tree. It is a happy tree in Japan, symbolizing respect and the joy of being blessed. Strong and yielding, it sways in the gentle breeze and withstands the fierce wind, offering itself for the practical and aesthetic needs of man. How appropriate that it be honored as decoration for Chawan.

Two scoops of Matcha, a half dipper of water whisked together with the spirit of the willow, tea is made and we are satisfied.

I enjoyed the beginning of tea summer, the fresh sweet taste of frothy green Matcha whisked to perfection by the teishu. A perfect ending to a long, long day.

A bow to you…

About Donna D'Orio: A Colorado native residing in Western Oregon (the land of rain) as I study Chado, Zen and participate actively with my grandchildren as I continue to pursue my artistic path. I hold a BA in Art and Cultural Studies. I am currently building a body of work to show and make available through my upcoming blog and website currently under construction and hope to see you there in the future.


Check out our new spring glazes for our handcrafted tea cups, click here

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