We live in a hectic time.  Information comes at us from all angles in breathtaking volume and with vicious  speed.  Smoking provides me respite from modern life’s dizzying pace.  From the time I light my briar pipe, I revel in time that is truly my own.  I smoke alone and often prefer it that way.  For a blessed hour, I am afforded the opportunity to disconnect from life’s trivialities and focus on my thoughts.   So busy am I with the perpetual task of consuming stimuli that I often forget to process it and reflect on how that process unfolds.  A smoke allows me to put my mind in first gear and consider a few chosen trains of thought in depth.

I do not smoke cigarettes lest I be terribly drunk.  A five minute smoke is not a proper one.  I look not for a quick break from reality, but an extended period over which to reflect and process the little snippets of thought and emotion that tend to clog my mind should they be left swimming aimlessly in my consciousness.

Not only does a smoke allow me to reflect, it also forces me to consider and appreciate the world around me.  Like most modern Americans, I spend the majority of my time indoors.  Sitting outside with a cigar affords me the luxury of reveling in simple beauty I would otherwise take for granted, to stop and appreciate the art of god.  A sunset appreciated never gets old.  The smell of rain before a storm never fails to enchant me.

I am aware that smoking is harmful to my heath but so is living too long and eating too much chocolate.  Often, when smoking, people will approach me and ask sarcastically if I enjoy killing myself with tobacco. My answer is always the same.

Yes, I do very much.

Smoking is pleasant, relaxing, delicious.  A cigar is an olfactory and gustatory indulgence.  In the pursuit of a good cigar is present a myriad of smells and flavors.  To focus on the flavor and smell of a smoke can be a sensory meditation.  Often when eating a meal, even one of great length and intricacy, I am in the company of another or distracted by a busy dining room.  With a cigar, I can be alone and truly lose myself in the melodies of flavor and aroma.

Sometimes in this bustling world the best therapy can be a moment of quiet, an hour with life’s volume muffled to a whisper.  It is then that we can listen to ourselves and pay respect to the magnificent world in which we live.