Monday, March 28, 2011

The art of waiting

At the St. Louis Pipe Show, I bought myself a tin of Solani Silver Flake. It was priced on the high side for the money I took, but the sample was tasty, and it was a 100g tin. My buddy Jeff, an accomplished enabler, said it would only get better with age.

"Age" is a word that always brings apprehension and dread. So does "cellar." To someone with a strong desire to rip open the next tin and burn through that tobacco (or give it away) until it's empty and I can open the next one, the idea of setting one aside for an entire 365 days — 366 on a leap year — is daunting and intimidating. I imagined a need for great patience and self restraint.

The thing is, that was the 2010 pipe show, and all I needed was a short attention span.

After more than a year, the tin is in a drawer with the rest of my tobaccos. It's somewhere in there. At least, I have to assume it is. It's been a few months now since I've actually seen that one and taken notice. My goal of one year passed last month, and it took a few extra weeks for me to realize that. And what I huge reaction I gave.

Cool. Guess I can smoke it now.

Guess what. It's still not opened, still not smoked. It's not that I don't want to smoke it. The eagerness of a young pipe smoker is gone, replaced by the realization that I can take the time to enjoy what's open. I could die tonight, and I'd never be able to smoke that tobacco, but I've appreciated what I have smoked, and, given the chance, I'll appreciate this one too. It might be this year, and it might be next year, or it might be 2015. But now, at least, this tobacco isn't burning a hole in my pipe.

When it all comes down to it, cellaring is a tremendously difficult practice to start and an incredibly easy practice to master. All you and your mind have to do is something else.

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