Today was the day we met Kazuko.
Alex and I were buying something. A cucumber I think. To make a salad.
Beautiful day at the farmers’ market, just the right amount of cool in the air. Cucumbers collected, bought, sold, eaten. Freshness perfected.
Then I turn around and I see them. A small table, no booth to protect it from the sun. A few pieces of pottery arrayed on the table. And I see them in the middle.
“Oh my god, are those tea bowls?”
The shape is immediately recognizable. A cultural shape. A symbol. A simple bowl.
These bowls, made by hand, fired in a 2000 degree fire. Unprotected from the sun, and warm now, like a memory of when they were born. Like they were born to be warm, to hold warmth and give warmth and live in the light.
Alex and I inspect them. Discuss the ones that are our favorites. The woman attending the table stepped back when we approached to let us explore on our own, to give us space.
I mean, you know, it’s not every day you find handmade Japanese tea bowls on the street.
Kazuko comes over and starts to talk with us. We learn a lot about her. Her husband made these bowls. He passed away two years ago. One time a collector came and bought one of the bowls and took it to an expo in Japan. (Hand to heart, “My God, our bowl in Japan!”) How hard it is to find tea bowls and how expensive they are when you do find good ones.
It’s a nice time. Chatting with Kazuko.
The sign says Orchid Land Pottery. I say, “Who wouldn’t want to live in Orchid Land?”
We buy a small tea plate and tell her we’ll take good care of it.
Poetry in stone, song in porcelain, a bowl of soft warmth to hold hot tea.
Published 16 July 2016
Kevin McGillivray is a web developer, writer, and teacher from Wisconsin. He writes about creativity, mindfulness, code, and tea.