Two Men, Two Pits and a Blog

Every Now And Then : Keeping it Simple

A couple of weekends ago, deep in hither lands, and way up north in the Superior National Forest, of which precise coordinates I shall not utter here, 20130607_193312_edit0my bride and I for a time, lingered in paradise.  Balsam Firs and Black Capped Chickadees abounded.  Downy woodpeckers pecking. Endless blue skies aloft.  And our hammocks strung in a peaceful respite. Backpacking into the remote areas like this at once ushers an inherent quietude and tranquility not soon privy the city dweller. A stillness of earth and soul, and the waters there, oh how they run so delightful and clean. Tumbling through the mossy, forest crags, as if just to be lovely that way, and to nourish the fevered palates of those weary foot travelers who happen upon it. Folks like us. We liked it so much in point of fact, we set up our camp, and we stayed there a while, as patrons to paradise.

A lovely place. A place I couldn’t help but to recollect some, whilst tending to old kettle grill this evening last, on our home patio back in the city. I get like that every now and then. Reminiscent if you will, with pit-side reflections. And I can’t help it. Lighting the grill, and seeing the fire cordially lick for the sky, and tasting the aroma of the rising wood smoke,  well, in a flip of a heartbeat, I am harkened back to other campfires in other places of enduring beauty. Places that I have once pressed a tent stake in, upon which earthy soils I have slept so soundly. I am smitten I guess, for the prettier places

Places where the star fields glitter, suspended in the blackness above, and the lonesome wail20130607_213730_edit0 of the Timber Wolves echoed through the forest hollows. Places amid the whispering pines, where if you want a good dinner, you had better have packed it in, or barring that,  possess an adeptness of procuring sustenance from the field and stream.  For to live simply, and deliberately, and not to be bothered by much else is the goal here. To reduce life’s endless complexities to a few scant items, and stow them neatly away in our backpacks. And for a while at least, to be gone with everything else. To flex our muscles up the cardiac switchbacks, and breathe in that freshened air. To catch fish, climb rocks, and build campfires. To be 10 again, in the Sherwood Forest, and sport a quiver with but one crooked arrow.

Back in the city again, tending supper over this old pit, I leaned back in the BBQ chair, watching the smoke curl some. Still reminiscing whilst crescent moon dallied over the Spruce, and a growing family of mallards floated serenely out on the pond. It’s kind of pretty here too, I thought.  Tongs in my hand, the aroma of Cheddar stuffed Polish sausages and hickory wafting from the pit. Glory! But I think of the hammock I strung up recently, in my quaint, northern sanctum – my Shangri-la in the woods. Hung nicely between two fluttering Aspen 20130607_135927_edit0trees. A location I became much acquainted with in my stay up there. For I took not one, nor two, but three lengthy naps there, in dappled sunbeams,  and beside burbling streams. Whiled away most of the afternoon in such fashion, harboring not a morsel of guilt. It was a lifestyle, by and far, that I could get used to. If only I could get my Weber Grill out there, I thought, in this land so remote. I think I should never again return.

The aromas of supper snapped me back to the present. Back to the city. I rolled the sausages about on the old grate. Onions were already diced. Ketchup and mustard at the ready. I toasted up a couple buns for my bride and I, and assembled this most basic of grilling endeavors. Grilling Polish sausage is about as simple as they come I guess, and yet, satisfying in a round about way. They taste good, but more over, it gives us pit keepers another excuse to play with fire. To smell that smoke wafting. And I guess just to be outside. And to this cook anyways, a porthole to a bevy of memories wrought over the open flame. Reminders which rise with the wood smoke,  of good times,  in pretty places, where the breeze blew sweetly through the trees. Something we like do every now and then. Keeping it simple. Like a good Polish Sausage. Amen.


19 responses

  1. Sounds like a beautiful trip and I love grilled sausage, simple yes but you are so right really, really delicious!

    June 18, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    • I know it. Love grilling up some sausage or brats. Well, who are we kidding, love grilling up just about anything!

      June 18, 2013 at 4:02 pm

  2. Thanks for visitng my blog…like your post…simple works…

    June 18, 2013 at 12:32 pm

  3. Very beautifully written. I think simplicity is key to good food. Which is the city you call home?

    June 18, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    • Thank you kindly. We are from the northern burbs of Minneapolis.

      June 18, 2013 at 4:00 pm

  4. I love to have fires and grill here in town because it is to bring just a little bit of the wild and of camping back home.

    June 18, 2013 at 12:39 pm

  5. One of my all time favorite smells is a wood fire and any kind of food cooking over it. The backyard grill is often our only link to wilderness and sanity. Thanks for the pleasantly visceral trip you provided in word and picture.

    June 18, 2013 at 12:49 pm

  6. What would you cook if you took your Weber to your Shangri La? I enjoyed.

    June 18, 2013 at 10:20 pm

  7. laurie27wsmith

    Lovely post, great journey as well. Love grilled sausages.

    June 18, 2013 at 10:44 pm

  8. Liz

    was going to say “lovely,” but Laurie has beat me to it. Just the same, you’re right on with simple being golden. And vacation being a good way to experience that. Last year we were camping in SD and I had the best meal of my life: from-scratch pancakes made on a camp stove that slanted, so the batter ran into the bacon. Served alongside instant hazelnut coffee. Wouldn’t have even come close to your simple grilled fare, but it was heaven that morning.

    Read your coordinates in an above comment. We really are neighbors as I’m northern St. Paul ‘burbs. Perhaps your grill smoke has wafted my way?

    June 18, 2013 at 10:57 pm

    • Nice camp cooking story Liz! Bacon pancakes! I’m convinced part of the reason things taste so good camping is because of location. In the piney woods and all, beside babbling streams, far away from any convenience store. We love camping out way of South Dakota too. In point of fact, my fellow blog host and I took our brides on a double date there last summer, camping all over. A lovely locale.

      I suppose if your smelling grill smoke in the dead of January then, odds are it might be mine!

      Take care, neighbor!

      June 19, 2013 at 9:34 am

  9. Isn’t it wonderful when you stumble upon a place as beautiful as the one you described? My deerslayer and I stumbled upon just such a place a few years back. We came upon a nat’l park in New Mexico purely by accident on our way to the Balloonfest in Albuquerque. We were the only campers in the park. It was the last weekend they were gonna be open for the season. It was so beautiful. We listened to elk bugling and watched a full moon rise over a still lake. We talk of it frequently. Memories like those sustain me.

    June 20, 2013 at 8:16 am

    • Sounds lovely there. You need to put some pictures up on your blog so I can check them out. We have camped in New Mexico a time or two, and it really is the land of enchantment. Beautiful area. Thanks for the comment Mrs Deerslayer!

      June 20, 2013 at 10:12 am

  10. Nick Trandahl

    Wow! This brought a smile almost immediately to my face. All of it rings so true to my own thoughts and notions of nature and simplicity and oneness. And the sausages sound delicious. Thank you for this write.

    June 28, 2013 at 6:43 pm

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