Want to join me for morning coffee?
Its 4:30am and I am up for the day. Stiff sore ankles and knees beg me to sleep for just six or eight more hours. "Never mind the sleep, just replace us with wooden pegs!" I shuffle to the kitchen to prep some (very) black coffee as quickly as my zombie self can muster the energy. "Two liters IV STAT!" I grab some water, my pipe and pipe gear as well as my Magnificat book and hit the patio.
The warm air rushes over me and it feels nice. I live in the city so there is always sound and there is always light (pollution). My back patio however is a sacred space, quiet enough and quite dark till the oil lamps and candles are lit. Ahhhhhmbiance.
There are many things that I enjoy about smoking a pipe. I love the art and craftsmanship of the pipe, the flavor of the many tobaccos that I have smoked and of course the discovery of all things pipe related. I say all things but it is probably worth noting that I am specifically a brown leaf kind of person. I do not engage in the green or herbal kind of smoking, nor do I have anything in particular to do with the vaping scene. I mean no disrespect or judgment on either group, they are just not part of my particular smoking scene. To each their own.
For me, being outside and slowing down while I smoke a pipe has had a huge impact on my life. Taking time to slow down and enjoying the fine art of doing “nothing” has had a profound impact on my temperament and my thinking process. There is a lot to be said for just smoking a pipe and watching the sun come up. As the sky slowly turns brighter and the stars disappear during these summer months I enjoy watching the final flurry of bats before they retire for the day. As the sun creeps over the horizon the humming birds descend upon my feeders in a blur of tiny feathers and ambivalence to my presence. The family inside sleeps and after a time the sound of kids waking up and starting the day begins.
All the while I puff and ponder. Occasionally I snap a pic for my social media pages but really I prefer to read a physical book and just watch the world wake up. During the dark hours before daylight I enjoy the light from my patio candles and lamps. During these hours sitting and puffing, or lunting about the neighborhood, I have pondered many mysteries and problems of life. I have solved the problems of world hunger, bad drivers, pollution and corrupt governments as well as what to be done with (and about) lying and cheating politicians. In these dark hours I have become king and subjected the entirety of the planet to my benevolent rule and much sought after wisdom.
A pipe gives a wise man time to think and a fool something to stick in his mouth. - C. S. Lewis
The sun comes over the horizon and I watch as the last of the stars fades from my sight and so too my thoughts and visions. They just twinkle out into the fabric of daybreak and there I am, alone with my pipe. I remember a video by Gray Bailey (a.k.a. George Bruno) on YouTube where he talked about smoking an old pipe. He pondered the things that pipe must have seen or born witness to over it’s hundred-year lifespan. He mentioned how many problems must have been solved whilst smoking this pipe by its previous smokers. I wonder how many times they solved the great problems of the world. I would wager not as many as they solved personal problems they each encountered in life. I loved this video and I think it was in this one, or another of his that he talks about how many times of happiness or great sorrow the pipe had possibly seen. The stories it could tell.
As the ritual comes to an end I pull out my journal and jot down the things I need to remember for the day or just the thoughts that have come to me that I feel are important enough to remember. Its time to start the day, prepare for work and do my best to make the world a better place.