The smoke rode heavy on the crisp evening air. Big, wet flakes were dropping from the ominous grey sky. The wind had begun to swirl and brought with it that special kind of chill that sweeps down the mountain, rattling the bare tree branches. The half-light of dusk conspired with the glow of the grille's flame to throw shadows across the snowy patchwork background. And I was hiding my smile behind the half-hearted complaints about the nasty weather flowing between swigs of beer.
I love a good, wintry stand at the bar-b-cue grill. There is something euphoric about standing in the cold, snow blowing, basking in the heat of the fire as all types of protein darkens with flavor. Both my wife and Mother Nature were more than willing to oblige my curious indulgence. My wife had marinated a couple of salmon steaks earlier and then prepared some homemade cheese sauce for steaks that would accompany the fish. She had thrown together a surf and turf of sorts, made up of cheese steaks and salmon, with candied carrots for color. And, as the grill came up to temperature, Mother Nature good-heartedly whispered to the clouds and provided me with a wonderful, passing snow squall.
It lasted just long enough for the meats to cook, for the beer to be savored, the deck to be coated in white, and the kids to frolic through catching flakes on their tongues. A fleeting moment to be sure, but one to last. It was enough to recharge the soul, to blow away some of the cloying nonsense that builds up over time. A simple meal made simply, and well worth the stinging cold that pinkens the ears. A taste of summer out in the frozen forest.