“What if I have too much to do?” I said aloud. There was no response. I don’t know what I expected—another note, some direction about the shells and my magic—but speaking my fears aloud in this room ripe with the echoes of Lita’s memory eased the knot in my stomach. I walked back to the west wing and the kitchen, my thoughts my only companion. On the counter was a pot of tea with honey and lavender cream on the side. The smell of apple drifted up from the pot. Next to the pot was a note in Mamá’s handwriting:
Remember to breathe, Nena.
–A Smuggler’s Path, page 225
We all have those moments, the times when the sheer volume of things to accomplish threatens to overwhelm you. Some people reach for faith, or mediation or a pint of ice cream. I reach for tea. The act of boiling the water, steeping the tea for a set time and watching the colors stain the clear liquid is a kind of mediation. In my book, A Smuggler’s Path, Inez’s grandmother was an herbal healer. Growing up with all the sights and smells of her Lita’s herbals was a comfort to Inez and so are the teas she learned to make.
I love tea, but I’m not a purist. I am “guilty” of adding milk and honey and sometimes other herbs to create a different flavor. Here’s one of my favorites:
Honey Lavender Cream
- 3 pinches dried lavender
- 4 oz. warmed milk or light cream
- Honey to taste
Warm milk and honey for 30 seconds in the microwave. Add dried lavender directly to milk or place in a tea ball and submerge for 6 minutes. Enjoyed best in black teas like Earl Grey or English Breakfast or even on its own before bed. Relax and enjoy!