The Ceremony of Rosie Lee

opening work for Spread

Dressed in red velvet, Rosie Lee prepares for ceremony. She places a circle of twelve cool black volcanic pebbles form her homeland and begins to prepare her implements in the centre of it. She hangs her eight day clock around her neck on a long velvet ribbon, it ticks a beat along with her heart. Her implements are placed on the small surfaces of decorative tables of varying heights, tables that once gave support to aspidistra. She creates a ceremonial surface on the top tray of her wood formica tea trolley, dusting all thoughts away with a tiny white feather duster, whispering a new moment with each movement. She drips hot sealing wax on to small squares of hand made paper, these placed, blood coloured, on the stones to mark the phases of the moon, or time passing, aligning herself to the continuum. Rosie Lee takes her time, she puts on a pair of white cotton gloves, opens a tortoise shell box, lifts out and unwraps her ceremonial stone from its red silk cloth. She polishes the stone carefully before placing it on the square of red silk on one of the tall thin aspidistra tables. Curiosity killed the cat but it now draws a man towards the circle of stones, Rosie Lee invites him into her circle to share a ceremony of tea in honour of another he has in mind, someone close to his heart. Now she stirs the dry tea leaves scented with rose petals with a dismembered wooden hand and offers to him to appreciate the aroma. After scooping some leaves and petals into the pot she adds water and leaves the mixture standing to infuse. She and he contemplate the goings on and the silence.
Three small white porcelain tea-bowls await on the top of the tea trolley, they sit on a tortoise shell tray that was once her grandmothers. Rosie Lee sounds the bowls with on outsize safety pin, they ring their different tones to its touch. He chooses a tone that sings to the tune of his heart, Rosie lee washes and dries the bowl of his heart, he takes the small uneven bowl in his hands, it has a word embossed into its delicate surface. Rosie Lee pours tea for him, he takes time as the roses and tea do their work and he drinks with the someone close to his heart. They sit together in the circle. He thanks her and takes his leave.
Rosie Lee takes the empty bowl and washes it once more before replacing it on the tortoise shell tray. She completes the washings and then begins her preparation in readiness for the next someone who passes by.

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