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Leisurely Meal


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Between November and April I gathered up black walnuts that fell from a huge, ancient tree that spreads out across the street from where it grows in somebody's front yard not far from where I live. I figure I'm rescuing the nuts from being pulverized by car tires. I use them to fuel a little wood-burning backpacker stove which I pull out to cook about one meal each week.


Depending on such a local source, I care about that tree more. Earlier this week, I noticed that one of its branches had fallen. Today pedaling past, I noticed the tree'd undergone major pruning. It's too late in the season for the tree to sprout out more branches with a whole new crop of nuts. So for next year I'll need to look for fuel elsewhere. I'm glad the owners cared enough to prune the tree rather than chop it down. If I'm still around, maybe I'll be cooking over its nuts again in 2009.


But for tonight, I burned a few more nuts from the 2006 crop and enjoyed chick peas with fresh peppers (some hot ones!) and tomato I bought at farmers market today. I'm glad I don't always have to prepare meals in haste. I'm glad I can cut my greenhouse gas emissions and enjoy the timeless scent of woodsmoke blended with cooking food. Lest I forget, once I'd got the chick peas to boil, I set them aside and wrapped them in an old sweater. Then I popped some corn. Restoring the chick peas to the flame, I got to snack on pop corn while tending the flame and watching the stars come out, at least what few will in my light-polluted sprawlopolis.


Didn't get much done today. Still, it ended with contentment.



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