In the silence a picture speaks where no one listens... that is, until Scott heard the words that were uttered. This week announces week 6 of The Virtual Blog Tour and with it brings my guest Scott Seldon. A warm welcome be bestowed to Scott as he shares with us, a moment of inspiration that was born from the picture below. Let's dive for a moment into the depths of his creative mind and as always your comments and feedback are welcomed at the end.
by Scott Seldon
Naomi Lewis couldn’t make up her mind if she was excited or nervous. It probably was some combination of the two, but there was way too much going on for her to nail it down.
She was the lead agricultural botanist for the colonizing expedition to Washio Delta near the Eagle Nebula. Their colony ship, Ashimo-maru, had completed its trials and was fully outfitted and stocked. It would be docking with the station later in the day. Once it docked she would be working non-stop until they departed. That was why they had scheduled a special tea ceremony before it arrived. It would be the last time any of the colonists would be available at the same time. It was special because following the traditional ceremony, the Chanoyu Master was supposed to make an announcement.
She wasn’t sure just how many generations ago her father’s family had moved to Japan. She’d been born there but she had the alabaster skin of her English ancestors. Yet she never for a moment considered herself anything than Japanese. Overcrowding on Earth’s surface coupled with an unbeatable opportunity had caused her father to move up to the station when she was still a child. They had made occasional trips to the surface to visit family and she had climbed Mt. Fuji more than once, most recently just two years ago, just before her application to be a colonist had been approved.
The intercom beeped and she rose to answer it, her kimono swishing as she moved. “Lewis here,” she said.
“The ceremony is being moved back. Captain Yoshimura will be delayed.”
She didn’t let the disappointment affect her speech and quickly said, “Understood,” before the emotions could rise to the surface. This delay likely meant the entire ceremony would be canceled The scheduling was way too tight. She stood next to the intercom for many long minutes and was considering changing when someone chimed at the door to her cabin. She walked over and answered it.
“Miss Lewis,” the young man in traditional black kimono and gray hakama said, “Master Hayashida requests that you come to the tea room immediately.”
“Of course,” she said with a slight bow. She donned her geta and followed the young man.
Walking in the traditional kimono and geta was challenging on the station. The gravity was not quite Earth normal, but it did match what they would have on the ship for the next few months. She had finally mastered it only a few months ago when Master Hayashida had arrived to finish her Chanoyu training before she left.
While she was not the only Chanoyu student making the voyage, she was the only one who was more than a novice. She had striven to become a master herself and had she not signed on to this expedition she was certain she would have made it.
She was quite surprised to find she was the only one in the tea room. The young man indicated that she should sit on the cushion placed in front of the port that dominated one wall of the tea room. She took her seat and waited. It was very hard to hide her surprise when she discovered that she was the guest of her Master. It was a great honor.
She sampled the proffered sweets, enjoying the red bean treat the most. She watched in awe as Master Hayashida made the tea and set it in front of her. She tried to take in every experience and treasure it. There would not be another chance unless he made the long journey to Washio Delta to see her. She was certain she would never return to Earth. They had stressed how much work it was to be a colonist. That and this was Japan’s first colony ship to make use of the new hyperspace drive technology. She was bound by honor to do her best and put the rest of her life into making the colony succeed. One small area was to make sure the tea plant would thrive, even if that meant some genetic enhancements That was one reason Master Hayashida had come to the station to personally supervise her training.
“Please excuse me, but I think I will have some tea,” Master Hayashida announced after he picked up the tea bowl. He made another bowl of tea and turned to face her before sipping it. When he was done, his eyes met hers.
“You have been a good student, Miss Lewis. My best, if I might say.”
“You are too generous,” she said with the expected modesty.
“It is time for you and I to have new roles. After today I will no longer be your instructor. You have learned all I can teach you. In many ways your technique is better than mine.”
“Master, I do not see how that is possible.”
“It is what I was hoping to see and why I have been here teaching you. I apologize that I waited until today to say this. It is long overdue. The reason we will have new roles and a new relationship is that from today, you are a Chanoyu Master. I have filed all the appropriate documents. I know that is what you had your sights set on and you thought you would not achieve it now that you are leaving Earth, but you truly are that good. It is fitting that you carry on, not only our traditions, but that you will bring tea to a new world. It is a bold move, but one the Emperor himself has heard of and is pleased with.”
He raised his hand and the young man entered with a small tray with two documents on it. Master Hayashida took the tray and set it between he and Naomi. He lifted the first document, written in the traditional manner on rice paper. “This is a message from Emperor Fujitsubo. I have taken the liberty of sending you a transcription in modern Japanese.”
She took it and looked at the ancient script and antiquated language. She would need a transcription.
He lifted the second document, also on rice paper. “This is the official proclamation that as of now, you are a Chanoyu Master.”
As she took it, his eyes were diverted to the port behind her and a smile broke his serious features. “And my timing has worked. Look at where we are over Earth.”
Naomi turned and looked down a the planet she’d been born on and saw the unmistakable shape of Japan. She could just make out the white dot that was the snowcapped Mt. Fuji. In orbit with them was Ashimo-maru with its bulky hyperspace engines.
“I had hoped to time it like this,” Master Hayashida said. “Remember this moment, Master Lewis.”
Naomi took a small supply of matcha with her, enough to use sparingly until she could cultivate the first tea bushes and make the first harvest of green tea. Adapting the tea bushes to their new world took longer than she expected, but her training paid off and she was able to breed a variety that would grow on their new home.
She ran out of matcha long before she had a harvest so she had to rely on her memory when she finally had the first batch of matcha grown on Washio Delta. She found the taste to be very close, but with slightly more of a variation than the different crops on Earth produced. Yet that variation seemed to be a subtile improvement. The red beans had taken off with no need to adapt so she had her favorite sweet when she held the first tea ceremony on the new world.
Following her Master’s advice, she held on to the memory of that last tea ceremony from Earth and painted a mural in the new tea room on the wall where the port had been in the tea room on the station. As the colony slowly grew, the new generation hungered for pieces of culture from Earth and she had more who wanted to be her student than she had time to teach. She took the opportunity to find those who could teach others. The Tea Ceremony would live on and the story of her mural became the new tradition on Washio Delta.
Scott Seldon lives with his family in Colorado and works as an IT administrator. Visit his website (sites.google.com/site/scottrseldon/) for the latest updates and to find where his books are sold.
What are your thoughts upon Scott's Flash Fiction? Would you have followed a similar route with the picture posted? If not then please share with us what you would have written about.