Bacon on the Bookshelf

Savory picks for the free range reader

April 9, 2022
by jenniferpuryear

The Turkey Hen, the Bobcat, and the Peanut Butter Toast

Each year, come spring, a turkey hen appears in our neighborhood. She browses and grazes with a calm demeanor and kind-of acts like she owns the place. Where does she live the rest of the year? Not telling. Come spring, she comes home. I’m worried about what she might find this year. 

In her absence, a bobcat has taken up residence in the area. Just last week, the fearsome bobcat was lounging under the little-used basketball goal in my driveway. It was practically wearing sunglasses and ordering a tropical drink. 

Pepper and Daisy noticed.

“BOBCAT!! BOBCAT!! BOBCAT!!” Pepper barked, lunging at the window in the kitchen that looks out onto the basketball goal.

“Bobcat!! Bobcat!” Daisy echoed in her tiny, fierce voice, making high vertical leaps into the air behind Pepper.

“Why isn’t that bobcat paying any attention to me?” Pepper finally asked, as it studiously ignored her fits, barks, lunges, and threats.

“Yeah, why isn’t that cat paying any attention to Pepper?” Daisy echoed, with worshipful glances at her big sister.

“I don’t know,” I answered. “It really is surprising. You girls are making a big fuss. I’m impressed it’s still there, just basking.” 

Pepper and Daisy considered. 

The bobcat felt the warm sunshine on her skin.

Pepper turned back to the window and redoubled her efforts.

“BOBCAT!! BOBCAT!! BOBCAT!!” she barked, with feeling, and more lunges, and seriouser threats.

Daisy did a few more vertical leaps, then sat on her haunches and watched the bobcat and Pepper. She made her way over to my lap. I was reading a most excellent book. 

“I think that bobcat has something important figured out,” she said.

“I do, too,” I answered, and we smiled.

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From The Comfort Book, by Matt Haig:

Peanut butter on toast

You will need:

Two slices of bread
A jar of peanut butter


  1. Place the slices of bread in a toaster.
  2. Wait a minute or two. Remove the toasted bread from the toaster and transfer to a plate.
  3. With a knife, spread the peanut butter generously onto one side of the toast. Spread the peanut butter with the knife always traveling in the same direction over the toast. I don’t know why. It just feels better this way.
  4. Don’t rush it. Set the mood of appreciation by moving the knife at a steady, Tai Chi kind of pace. This moment should have the integrity of a religious ritual.
  5. Take the plate of toast to your favorite seat. Sit. Compose yourself. Be fully aware of how wondrous it is to be sentient. To be aware you are not only alive as a human being, but as a human being about to eat some peanut butter on toast.
  6. Close your eyes as you take the first bite. Let your worries float by, untethered from their hooks, as you appreciate this living moment of taste and pleasure.
  7. If you really don’t like peanut butter, this ritual of gratitude and attentiveness has also been proven to work with marmalade. 

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Big sister

Lil sister

April 2, 2022
by jenniferpuryear

Picture Yourself Walking Through a Meadow…

“Picture yourself walking through a meadow. There is a path opening before you. As you walk, you feel hungry. Look to your left. There’s a fruit tree in full bloom. Pick what you need.”

Thus began one day’s reading, this week, from The Language of Letting Go: Daily Meditations on Codependency, by Melodie Beattie.

It continued, in dreamlike fashion…

”Steps later, you notice you’re thirsty. On your right, there’s a fresh water spring.

When you are tired, a resting place emerges. When you are lonely, a friend appears to walk with you. When you get lost, a teacher with a map appears.

Before long, you notice the flow: need and supply; desire and fulfillment… Maybe I had to feel the need, so I would notice and accept the gift. Maybe closing my eyes to the desire closes my arms to its fulfillment.

Demand and supply, desire and fulfillments – a continuous cycle, unless we break it. All the necessary supplies have already been planned and provided for this journey.

Today, everything I need shall be supplied to me.”

When I got to the end of the day, I realized that it had come true.

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Walking in a meadow with eyes wide open has something to do with acceptance. From today’s reading, Sunday April 3rd…

“Surrender to the moment. Ride it out and through, for all it’s worth. Throw yourself into it.

Stop resisting.

So much of our anguish is created when we are in resistance. So much relief, release, and change are possible when we accept, simply accept.

We waste our time, expend our energy, and make things harder by resisting, repressing, and denying. Repressing our thoughts will not make them disappear. Repressing a thought already formed will not make us a better person. Think it. Let it come into reality. Then release it. A thought is not forever. If we don’t like it, we can think another one or change it. But to do that, we must accept and release the first thought.

Resistance and repression will not change a thing. They will put us at war with our thoughts.

We make life harder by resisting and repressing our feelings. No matter how dark, how uncomfortable, how unjustified, how surprising, how “inappropriate “ we might deem our feelings, resisting and repressing them will not free us from them. Doing that will make them worse. They will swirl inside us, torment us, make us sick, make our body ache, compel us to do compulsive things, keep us awake, or put us to sleep.

In the final analysis, all that we’re really called on to do is accept our feelings by feeling them, and saying, “Yes, this is what I feel.”

Feelings are for the present moment. The more quickly we can accept a feeling, the more quickly we will move on to the next.

Resisting or repressing thoughts and feelings does not change us or turn us into the person we want to be or think we should be. It puts us in resistance to reality. It makes us repressed. Eventually, it makes us depressed.

Resisting events or circumstances in our life does not change things, no mattter how undesirable the events or circumstances may be.

Acceptance turns us into the person we are and want to be. Acceptance empowers the events and circumstances to turn around for the better.

What do we do if we’re in resistance, in a tug-of-war with some reality in our life? Accepting our resistance can help us get through that too.

Acceptance does not mean we’re giving our approval. It does not mean surrendering to the will and plans of another. It does not mean commitment. It is not forever. It is for the present moment. Acceptance does not make things harder; it makes things easier. Acceptance does not mean we accept abuse or mistreatment; it does not mean we forego ourselves, or boundaries, hopes, dreams, desires, or wants. It means we accept what is, so we know what to do to take care of ourselves and what boundaries we need to set. It means we accept what is and who we are at the moment, so we are free to change and grow.

Acceptance and surrender move us forward on this journey. Force does not work.

Acceptance and surrender – two concepts that hurt the most before we do them.

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