The seasons transform hardwood forests. Buds begin to erupt in early Spring; by Summer, leaves are so thick, only dappled light gets through to the forest floor. In early Fall, trees and shrubs begin to change colors and textures in preparation for the massive leaf-drop in late Fall. That event leaves the forest denuded except for scattered evergreens and a few stubborn hardwoods whose brown leaves refuse to drop until Spring. The difference between the lush, verdant environment of late Spring and the spare, naked look of late Fall is remarkable. Viewing the woods outside my windows during those two seasons, I feel like I am looking at two entirely different places in two entirely different moments in time. And I suppose I am. People have only one experience of youth and only one impending mortality; forests, on the other hand, annually cycle through birth and death. Youth and old age repeat dozens or hundreds or even thousands of times in the lifetime of a forest. I wonder whether—if people were to carefully examine how forests seem to experience an easy comfort with change and learn from forests’ experience—we might accept and even revel in our own transformations?


I was not quite ready to get up when the yowling beast jumped on the bed very early this morning and demonstrated how loud her voice can be. So, I ignored her and went back to sleep. Two hours later I awoke in daylight. Damn! It seems almost like half the day slipped by without me. Perhaps I needed the sleep; maybe that’s what knocked out my sinus headache. Whatever did it, I am ready to smoke a 10+ pound brisket. There’s still a bit of preparation to do, but I imagine I can put the monster in the smoker by 9:30. It will take quite a long time to cook; waiting as those hours slide by will be worth it, though, when I finally put a tender, juicy morsel of mesquite-smoked brisket in my mouth. It is increasingly rare for me to eat beef, which is a good thing, but those rare moments when I eat not just beef, but smoked beef, are magical.


In addition to smoking a brisket, I intend to make a 1-pot pumpkin and turkey chili today. My sister-in-law made the recipe recently; it was one of the most wonderful foods I have ever put in my mouth. Though I doubt this double-cooking day is a sign that my love of cooking has returned, I am glad to be cooking a couple of dishes that will make a number of meals. It will be almost like having access to freezer dinners, except these dinners (or lunches or whatever) will be truly tasty. And just as easy as Stouffer’s (or whoever makes frozen dinners these days).


I anxiously await a call to schedule my next CAT-scan. The last time I got unwelcome news from my oncologist was five years ago. That, too, came on a Friday afternoon. But at least that time I got actual information. Last Friday I got just a heads-up that something that “might” be of concern needs to be explored. I vacillate between very mild worry and complete dismissal, as if I am not even aware of it. I prefer the latter, but this morning the former seems to be taking center stage. Bah! If I could just sit at my desk, staring out the window and watching massive leaf-falls whenever there’s a gust of wind, I would happily be entranced by it.


Time to get the smoker going. I cannot believe it’s almost 9 a.m. Minutes and hours can slip by unnoticed. They should not be ignored; they should be grasped and appreciated and celebrated and otherwise worshipped.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

I wish you would tell me what you think about this post...

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.