Today, the sun is shining brightly and it’s incredibly hot here, so iced tea, our art challenge prompt for the day, is definitely a good choice. The intense heat made me think back to when I was a kid and my mom would make sun tea, which would later be poured over ice. This was a very popular tradition here in the Midwest when I was growing up. Basically, you’d toss a few tea bags into a jar with water, seal it up and set it out in the sun to bake for a few hours. Like many things in my childhood, these days, the act comes with a long list of warnings. Apparently warming water instead of actually boiling it can create a petri dish for little bacteria of all kinds to form. So many activities that were common in my childhood now carry so many warnings, that it seems a wonder I survived being a kid at all. But looking back, I only have the best memories of those times, so I think everything worked out just as it should.
Sun tea, like all seasonal traditions, was fun because it only happened at a very particular time of year. It was the signal that summer had officially arrived and school was officially over for awhile. And truly, tea made by the sun was just sort of an awesome and magical idea. But, alas, these days many warn against it adding to a list of similar memories. Like snow ice cream during the winter months. We’d scoop up a bowl of snow and then add some eggs, whole milk and vanilla for a wonderful treat! Beyond the raw eggs, these days this one comes with warnings of whether or not the snow is ever really clean enough to eat. Suggestions include gathering it mid-blizzard to assure the first snowflakes have scrubbed the sky first, or yes, simply avoid doing this entirely. Another black mark crossing out yet another wonderful childhood memory. But, I wasn’t “one of the lucky ones” who survived all of these old traditions. We all did.
And the real magic of growing up for me was doing so freely, without being drowned in so much caution. It made me ponder whether or not it’s always better to be safe than sorry. How sorry? I think life is more fun with a bit of risk taking, as long as the risks are calculated. It would be so dull if we heeded every warning we hear, because there would literally be nothing that we could do. Someone, somewhere, swears that we should avoid just about anything you can imagine these days. So, who should we listen to? Who are the real experts? To me, it’s still the same expert I’ve followed my entire life. My instinct. This is the wonderful skill I was born with to know how to keep myself alive. If it didn’t exist, I couldn’t have survived that pre-Internet era. No google search could stop me from doing something back then, I just had to take my best guess. And, thanks to instinct, that guess was usually always right. So, blissfully, I was able to grow up with a treasure trove of wonderful moments filled with sun tea and other great memories.
About the Doodlewash
Da Vinci Paint Co.: Nickel Azo Yellow, Quinacridone Red, Benzimida Orange, Cobalt Turquoise and Cobalt Blue. Lamy Al-Star Safari Fountain Pen with sepia ink in an A5 Hahnemühle Watercolour Book. Want to purchase a print of this doodlewash? Send me a note with a link to this post, and I’ll add it to my shop!
Creator of Doodlewash®, founder of World Watercolor Month (July), World Watercolor Group™, and host of the Sketching Stuff Podcast. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!