Kombucha for the Adventurer’s Heart

First: newscast. I’m sure that many of you have heard about the storms/flooding that went on down here in Pensacola a few days ago. We received over 20 inches of rain, tons of roads and houses were flooded, roads were close/destroyed, hundreds of people were displaced from their homes, and others have died. Pensacola has experienced a lot of death this week. People have lost their property, their homes, their valuables, and their hope, and have to raise it from the ashes, the sludge, and the flood waters.

Second: Kombucha.

What it is? Basically, a fermented tea drink. In other words, fizzy, delicious, refreshing, homemade, healthy soda.

Although various elements of health have been weaving their way into my life recently, I was very hesitant to jump onto the fermentation bandwagon; actually, I still am hesitant. Something about it makes me very uncomfortable. But it’s a discomfort that I need to overcome, and this drink is definitely helping.

Here’s the basic process of kombucha: begin by brewing black tea with sugar, and then letting it sit for about a week with a starter (a colony of yeast and other microorganisms). During this time, it forms a layer called a “mother” on the top. You can then add fruit juice it, and let it sit (covered tightly) for another week. Ta-da! You have fruity soda!

The point to all this?

Kombucha is restoring.

In taste, it is fizzy and refreshing, especially a tall, iced glass on a hot day. Also, it naturally keeps reproducing. You take some out, start a new batch with fruit juice, add more tea to the old batch, let the bacteria breed, and then do it again. It’s a kind of self-restoration and resurrection, you could say.

How are these two things connected? First of all, because the flooding in Pensacola has left a mark, and I want to work through its effects in my writing.

Second? All the water-logged souls of those affected people could sure use some resurrection. As memories, lives, and futures have been drowned by flood waters, resurrection is needed to unfurl a tiny green shoot out of the grave of a lightning-splintered ancient oak; to one-by-one stack the rubble of stones into a new home; to knit together desperate, broken individuals into a bonded community.

And how do you bring resurrection? I don’t quite know. It will always be a battle, because everyday life naturally deteriorates and destroys the things we love, if we don’t fight to bring them back to life. Our hearts must be resurrected, and stay resurrected; alive, whole, broken, learning, loving, and growing.

Kombucha 5

So, here, for the month of May, is some food for your adventurer’s heart; a tall glass of iced kombucha.

Strains of Music: “Flood Waters”, by Josh Garrels

I encountered this song a few months ago, and it ran through my head as water surged through Pensacola. It is a beautiful reminder that the one thing fiercer than death itself cannot be washed away by flood waters. You can read the lyrics here.

Words of fellow men:

This is a portion of a poem by an amazing writer named Wendell Berry. If you’ve never read his writings, they may seem a little odd and confusing, but I promise you that if you keep reading, you’ll 1.) Be amazed 2.) Gain a different perspective 3.) Come away a changed person. You can read the full poem here  (which I highly recommend doing. It’s not that long, and is a wonderful poem).

“Go with your love to the fields.
Lie down in the shade. Rest your head
in her lap. Swear allegiance
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos
can predict the motions of your mind,
lose it. Leave it as a sign
to mark the false trail, the way
you didn’t go. Be like the fox
who makes more tracks than necessary,
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.”

– Wendell Berry

Words of God:

“And the Lord will guide you continually,
and satisfy your desire in scorched places
and make your bones strong;
and you shall be like a watered garden,
like a spring of water,
whose waters do not fail.
And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt;
you shall raise up the foundations of many generations;
you shall be called the repairer of the breach,
the restorer of streets to dwell in.”

Isaiah 58:11-12

The Challenge: Practice Resurrection

I don’t think I can say it any better than Wendell Berry (few can). Look at those small elements that make up your everyday life, and think about how the things you can do to bring renewed life to them. Be hopeful that change can come, but then have the courage to take the first step of making that change.

p.s. If you’re interested in making kombucha, here is a good place to start.

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