Birthday party, baby shower, wedding, Prom, graduation, anniversary . . . so many of life’s landmarks – large and small – have been postponed or scrapped or reimagined in the last 150 days. According to experts, more rites of passage will face the same uncertain fates before any measure of predictability allows for event planning.

In a pandemic, everything from politics to the stock market is set in Jello. 

There is good news: high fashion and practicality have merged in the face mask market; air quality is immediately and profoundly improved when many people stop driving cars; hands are a lot cleaner; and more people are wearing sweatpants 24/7. Those with school-age children have realized a level of respect for school teachers unparalleled in modern history.  People have learned the exquisite calculus of Zoom: college textbooks visible on the shelf behind your head and a collared shirt, while hair that is a bit unkempt assures your colleagues that you haven’t made any risky decisions to feed your vanity.

The rural community near me had eight high school seniors in the class of 2020.  Out of school since mid-March, the students completed coursework online.  There was no April or June SAT test.  No scholarship dinner was held in May, and there was no senior class service project in the community. Although there was a very thoughtful graduation ceremony involving physical distancing and a parade, it will be remembered for its novelty rather than adherence to tradition.

As I write this, confirmed cases of the virus increase daily. The return to normal we desire looks to be several weeks or months away.  The tea community has an opportunity to turn the unpleasantness of uncertainty into a practice that is reassuring and reaffirming. Let me suggest five ways tea can help you connect – and reflect  during this odd time.

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