And what, you may ask, is the value of art? Well in my case, $43.60. A surprisingly precise sum for such an ambiguous thing as "art", but stay with me and I'll try to explain.
My eyes wander about with the same casual aimfullness as do my feet, and they often land upon sights that are hidden gems. In fact, they almost always do, because gems, hidden and otherwise, are all around, all the time. Even in -- maybe especially in -- unfamiliar and unexpected places. Like a tea shop. And such was the case that resulted in the image you see here.
I just happened to glance into the tea shop at the mall and noticed this gentle arrangement of teapot, cups, and blossoms that begged to be photographed. And, of course, I'm never without at least my iPhone, so there was no excuse to not go in and explore. The young lady who worked there was the very picture of friendliness and so I poured forth my honest intentions -- that I desperately needed some tea. And not just any tea, but the kind that would do a Buddhist monk proud, the kind that would have been swiftly transported to English ports aboard the Cutty Sark, the kind that even the most ardent patriot would blanche at dumping into a harbor. Expensive tea, necessary tea, and oh by the way, mind if I take a quick snapshot of that lovely arrangement I see on that shelf?
For the record, the tea was called Golden Monkey, and was roughly the same price, ounce-per-ounce, as your average Toyota, but oh my god it was probably the most delicious tea I've ever had. And it allowed me to find this lovely, quiet little image, and an evening of joy exploring and interpreting it.
Just for grins, here's what I saw when I initially peeked in. You can see why I was drawn to it, and I trust you would have been, too. Yes? No? Maybe?
I have no doubt that if I had asked nicely the sweet young lady would have let me take pictures without buying anything, but I would have felt somewhat diminished, I think. I'm no ordinary thief. I pay for the things I steal.
In this case, it was worth all the tea in China.