I have no story tonight. Nothing in mind. All I know is I don’t want to stop writing. I don’t want to stop writing on Medium, or in my journal, or anywhere else. So, I’ll write what’s top of mind, only because I just finished cutting them free from plastic packaging and salting them with Himalayan sea salt from Costco: Ribs. St. Louis Style Baby Back Pork Ribs.
I was too tired and lazy to make a proper rub, but the salt will do the job. I figure I can add a rub tomorrow, something that will carmelize nicely when I get these babies on the grill. I’ll need to pre-cook them in the oven. They should go on the grill only for flavor and to bake on the barbeque sauce.
But who am I kidding? I’m no expert on ribs. I’ve made them a few times. Beef and pork ribs. They were amazing most times. The last time, however, I somehow over-salted them. They were just about cured when I served them. Almost as salty as bacon, with the meat sort of… cured. The texture had changed from falling off the bone tender to tougher, clinging to the bone. Curing leaves muscle fibers denser as proteins contract. It was disappointing.
Ribs. We will have ribs tomorrow. My sister is in town with her family. We will pick them up at 4:30 for a picnic.
On my hike tonight, I went to the redwoods. I hiked along the river with Daisy. I scoped out the trail, watched the way the light fell for the hour, tried to figure out the best time to come tomorrow.
I noted the trees and the flowers, the wild forget-me-not, lupine, and digitalis. The daisies and clover strewn among the grasses. I imagined my niece, step-niece, and step-nephew hiking on the trail. Would they like it? Would they be bored? Would they be strong enough? Would they be enchanted?
I wondered if my sister was in good enough shape to manage the hike. If her boyfriend was. I counseled myself not to be over-invested. To be ready and relaxed if they didn’t like it, if they complained, if they didn’t understand the forest. If they couldn’t feel God. I told myself not to be annoyed. To, in fact, expect this.
I told myself the kids would feel it on some level, even if they didn’t remember until later.
I remember being a kid. Kids know nothing. And they don’t know what’s good for them. But now, now I remember.
I fought my parents bitterly when they dragged us out of a hotel room in Amsterdam where we happily watched cartoons to take us to the Van Gogh Museum. I thought I hated it. I probably moped around, acted out, and pretended to be morbidly bored. Maybe I even was.
Yet now, now I remember the wall. I remember standing before the works of Van Gogh, in particular one of his bedroom. Why do I remember it? I’m not sure. Nevertheless, it’s a flash bulb memory — and one I treasure. Thank you, Mom and Dad.
So, I will drag my family to the forest tomorrow. They might not like it. They might be annoyed. I’ve already ascertained that cell phones won’t work there. (I’m delighted.) The kids may not like that.
I don’t care.
And it’s not because I don’t care about them or what they like, want, or feel.
It’s because I believe to the bone that even if they are not affected in the moment, the forest — this particular forest — at this particular time — (I chose 4:30 p.m. because it’s in a ravine, the sun is already slipping over the ridge, the shadows are lengthening, the redwood trunks turning rosy) — cannot help but impact them.
Even if they don’t feel the impact right away. Even if they never feel the impact.
That doesn’t mean it’s not there.
It’s just hibernating. Waiting, like a fuel cell battery, for when it’s needed. For when an injection of grace is needed.
Then there it will be.