Friday, June 8, 2007

Of Huckleberries and Retreats

A locally known "super-virus" sometimes called the "Katrina Krud" has been making the rounds of the staff at God's Katrina Kitchen, and it grabbed hold of me with a vengeance the first two weeks of May. When my fever broke I took it as a chance to head for the woods, ending up back at POW camp with a shank steak to toss on the fire.
Toss it I did, but I had little energy for much else, and spent much of the time napping by the side of the seven-acre lake, watching the box turtles pop their heads up and listening to the frogs and birds.
Poking around a bit, I found (Alas!) that the lucious blackberries were no more to be found. However, the Huckleberry bushes were replete with small black semi-tart berries, quite a bit more flavorful than blueberries.

After grazing in the bushes for a time, I started collecting huckleberries, and brought back at least a half pint of these tender morsels, sharing them with James Giles as we sat in his porch swing back at the Kitchen.

June second and third was time for another retreat into the woods.
I was joined by the new member of our NoAH program, Ed. He and I hiked to "The Duck Pond" (on which no one remembers seeing a duck), a two-acre lake beside the Tuxachanie Trail. We sat pondside and listened to the most marvelous symphony of sounds: frogs, insects, birds, and who knows what else. A good tape recorder could an make ambient sound backdrop for a jungle movie there. Next time I'll try to bring back pictures of this lily-pad covered watersite.
The idyllic pictures posted here belie the thunderstorm that was to burst upon us later. We had just got a really good bed of coals going, the sweet potatoes wrapped in foil were buried in the hot coals, and the two inch thick chuck steak was on the grill when it hit us.
My coffee cup on the table indicated that the forty-minute downpour dropped about a third of an inch of rain on us. The bed of burning coals survived the downpour, but the steak turned out quite a bit more rare inside than I had hoped. Nevertheless, when the storm ended we feasted on salad, steak, sweet potatoes, and broiled corn-on-the-cob.
Ed is no longer with us: he seemed to be doing so well, then he got homesick for Kentucky and hooked up with a streetperson who said he was going there. We don't know if Ed will make it out of town, but we do know that the demons that were besetting him when he arrived with us have seemed to fade away.
Oh Lord, remember those you have called to yourself, and call them again. Call your child Ed, Lord, and keep calling until he hears and obeys.

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