The Tea Horse Road – The Grace
Updated: Oct 4, 2020
A little moment of respite for our incredible hostess who remains still, one of most formidable characters in my memory palace. While running around researching the Tea Horse Road, a friend who was from the Yi minority invited me to meet his grandmother, who had lucid memories of the old trade route. As much as the time with her was about tea and the route itself – which steamed through her region near Xiaguan, Yunnan, – she herself became a kind of all-encompassing subject of my attention and affection. Somewhere in her nineties, she still ran a household, puttering around offering up drinks and speaking about spirits that wandered at night. Her diet (and energy) fascinated me. Besides the odd bit of tea, she subsisted almost entirely on a diet of raw eggs whipped into a small brew of homemade whisky, with a little sugar added. Twice daily she took this ‘life-juice’ and managed quite fine. It was only when preparing to leave that I was told that she had only twenty-percent vision. She had scurried around for days nimbly skipping about offering up all she had to us, hunched up but fluid. An amazing bit of inspiration and energy bundled into human form.