Posted by: deadmousediaries | March 30, 2010

Homebrew a Little Happiness – another true story from Mitchell Kyd

It was Sunday morning and it marked the first day of picnic season. When spring brings that unpredictable gift where the temperatures soar into the 80s, it’s impossible not to embrace it with a wicker basket or a tray of hot charcoal.

When I came down the steps, my son had already made the iced tea, not a gallon of some instant mix stirred into it a huge glass jug, oh no. Sitting in my kitchen were seven kinds of freshly brewed teas lined up in Mason jars along the narrow edge of the sink. One false step and seven quarts of sweetness would tumble like dominoes to stain the floor and leave a trail of goo and glass crumbs that we would still be crunching onto at Thanksgiving. Their placement seemed so precarious that I took three steps back to avoid the massive clean-up that was sure to occur if I simply sighed too heavily in their direction.

As I retreated through the hallway I glanced back for just a moment to catch the home-brewed masterpiece now on exhibit in my kitchen. The morning light was peeping through the half-opened blinds and filtered through the Mason jars like stained glass in the most magnificent cathedrals. Through no intentional intervention, the teas had been lined up from light to dark and the sunlight electrified their hue.

From lemon to orange spice, to mint, cherry, cranberry and Earl Grey teas, the colors changed from the palest dandelion through sapphire red to richest amber. They looked like notes on a scale if you could see music as well as hear it. The scene stopped me in my tracks.

My son and I both took a moment to take it all in before I grabbed the camera. An entry for the photo contest, I thought! The first shot surprised me because it also caught the sunlight skittering off the bottom of the jars and bouncing into the the rest of my kitchen. Reflections skipped across my refrigerator and my cupboards like fairies that had awakened from a very long nap. It was perfect! Almost.

The photo also showed some clutter on the windowsill that my radar had failed to notice in the joy of the original moment, so I removed a few items in the background and shot again. Nice, but still not a perfect photo. I moved the dishcloth and zoomed in tighter. I bent down lower to get a new perspective. Next I opened the blinds; if a little sun was wonderful, more would surely be amazing. Then I rearranged the jars so the light could better penetrate the dark brews. Ten minutes and eight photos later, I had my big Ah Ha!

The moment that had existed was gone. The light had changed, the fairies had flitted on to other things, and nothing I had done had improved on that first image. It wasn’t a photo contest entry but the first one was surely the closest to reminding me of the simple pleasure of seeing the promise of summer unveiled in my own kitchen. In those few moments of an early spring morning, I had joy. This serendipity in a quiet house, my son’s presence, the splash of pink from a vase of peonies nearby had all contributed to what I had seen. None of the photos had even come close to telling the story. A line from The Little Prince described it best: “What is essential is invisible to the eye.”

My day had been made glorious by my son and seven Mason jars filled with tea. I was reminded that joy surrounds us and it shouldn’t be interupted or postponed to take a picture. Joy isn’t meant to be captured – or anticipated – only enjoyed in the moment, like a sweet sip of iced tea.

Copyright 2010.  Mitchell Kyd. All rights reserved.



  1. That last paragraph contains such truth. . . . Thanks for reminding us to simply enjoy joy!
    Again I really enjoy your style – so decriptive but not verbose.

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