Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Homebrew Emotions

Moving is making me sad. Packing up all my stuff again to put into storage means I have to repeat the experience of nostalgia that always comes as I go through some of my more personal items. We'll be heading off to Mexico again for the winter and I can't shake the regret of leaving behind my lovely things not to mention my precious brewing equipment. It gets packed and stored with everything else into the diminishing care and accumulating dust of the 10x12 storage unit.

As I get ready to put my electric guitar in a box I can't help but sling it over my shoulder and start playing off key lead parts to the Coldplay song that pitches out of my stereo. I only stop when I discover it's out of tune and I'm too depressed to fix it. I place it gently in the box and tape the opening closed, all the while getting that 'Christmas is coming to California' sensation as the warm rain falls gently outside the window. Now Norah Jones is singing 'Come away with me' but I don't want to go, not now. I want my selfish desires to come to me, gift wrapped and without atonement.

But this sense of loss is an acceptable if not disagreeable part of the process for the life I have chosen, because there is not enough Mexico here in this quiet, neatly trimmed and well stocked California suburb. Yes, below the current of my present melancholy is the memory of the dry and noisy air of San Miguel and the prospects for brewing like a renegade again. Creating beer related events based on cerveza made with the local ingredients. And this year I'm encouraged with the benefit of knowing the locations in Mexico that provide the essential ingredient, malt. No need to fill most of my luggage with dry malt extract, I can use that space for other brewing ingredients and equipment.

My personal possessions will be packed relatively quickly because some of it hasn't been unpack after my return trip from Mexico last year. I won't pack up my brewing stuff until just before we leave because I have a class to teach next week for one and also, I want to brew twenty gallons of strong Belgian ales to put in the kegerator to lager while I'm gone. Now, as I consider the task ahead of me and the feelings it invokes, I realize that they will pass as quickly as they came followed by the newness of the freedom and possibility of life in Mexico, two things that challenge my sense of safety and comfort found here in the familiar. I'm beginning to recognize this pattern as I begin my third year of heading south for the winter. But recognition does not displace the emotion as much as reinforce, and I am left to let it run its course through me.

If I recall correctly from the last couple years, this current state of mind is coupled with the dread and fascination that comes with what seems like unlimited possibilities, and exhilaration that can only exist alongside a sense of danger. It reminds me of the time when I was a young boy living in rural California. I was perched on the top strand of a barbed wire fence. One hand grasping a split rail fence post while extending the other out into a thicket of blackberry bushes just beyond my reach, trying to pick the dark full fruit. The wire began to sway under my feet and I tried to save myself from the fall by grabbing the wire and jumping back. My hand snagged on one of the barbs on the way down and ripped the flesh from the joint at my index finger and began to bleed profusely. I looked at the wound confused before panic set in. As I desperately ran home along the path that followed the fence I stopped dead in my tracks when I came across a stripped snake sunning itself on the dirt directly in front of me. I was captivated by the beauty of the creature, its scaled skin gleaming, reflecting the late summer sun and I felt the warm earthy breeze. I immediately forgot about my bloody wound dripping into my shirt.

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