Good Fortune and Good Taste

Last night, after an early dinner at a nearby restaurant, we sat outside in the screened porch. We heard turkeys and various other birds. And we heard the song or call of a bird I did not know, but which I hear every evening in late spring and summer. Our friends identified it as a whippoorwill. I’ve never seen the birds making those unmistakable sounds, but I hear them without fail. I looked for information online this morning and discovered that the birds are rarely seen. From a website, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, All About Birds, I read this: Made famous in folk songs, poems, and literature for their endless chanting on summer nights, Eastern Whip-poor-wills are easy to hear but hard to see. Their brindled plumage blends perfectly with the gray-brown leaf litter of the open forests where they breed and roost. At dawn and dusk, and on moonlit nights, they sally out from perches to sweep up insects in their cavernous mouths. Last night, the moon was full and the birds serenaded us into the late evening. We stayed outside until the moon had risen sufficiently high and move sufficiently west in the sky to see it in its entirety.

Today, we will smoke the brisket our friends brought; the he of the pair had brined it and lathered it in a delightful rub that smells of coriander and rich spices. After smoking the brisket for several hours, we’ll steam it for a couple more to make pastrami. I’ve never known much about how pastrami is made. I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to make it. He brought homemade rye bread for sandwiches. The she of the pair asked us last night if we realize how fortunate we are to live where we do, here in the forest. We do.

Now, if I can keep at bay the damn cold that seemed to have taken hold last night, all will be well. A day of smoking brisket and, later, drinking milk stout to wash it down, is a day to be captured. And I’ll capture it, both in words and in photos.


About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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