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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Snow...and Why It's So Awesome.

                Snow is good for a lot of things.  Not just the run of the mill stuff like skiing/snowboarding, sledding, snow angels, getting out of school or work (hehe) – those are all good things, just not what I’m talking about.  I’m referring to things like how it dampens the world around us.  Traffic is quieter.  Footsteps softer.  Our world painted white, if just for awhile, lessening the overabundance of daily distractions of color, light, and sound.  You forget how peaceful things can be.

                One of the more poignant moments of my life happened while I was working during a rare bout of snow on the University of Oregon campus.  I was out scraping sidewalks at 6am, cursing my life, freezing my ass off.  It was still pretty dark given the time of year, and I was sure I was the only living being in the area.  No bird noises.  No rustling squirrels.  No cars.  A man approached me - I had seen him around for years, long Gandolph-like beard, dark shrouded clothes.  Word around campus was that he was an ex-professor that went nuts in the late 70’s, but was still allowed to creep around, use the library and stuff. 

                We got to talking, as we always did.  As a State worker I never passed up the opportunity to shirk work here and there.  It was my duty.    He asked how I was holding up, to which I expressed my misery working on that dark, cold, snowy morning.

                Then he said something funny.  “These are my favorite mornings”. 

                Of course I’m now waiting for some long, schizophrenic rant.  Our conversations usually devolved thusly, but out of curiosity I asked why.  He explained, very lucidly, that they reminded him of when he was younger.  Before there was a constant hum of auto traffic, sirens, people, airplanes and the like.  Where you could go throw a rock and not hit anything.  He said he could pretend he was young again, outside his house growing up, just being free with his own thoughts.

                So that was cool.  It’s stuck with me even 15 years later (longer maybe? Jesus, has it been that long?).  Now when it snows, I become a more peaceful person, if only because it puts transcendental notions into better perspective.  I love the snow.

                What does this have to do with beer?  Well, snow makes people do this:

                So that’s cool.  Winter Microbrews are just awesome.  Awhile ago it seemed the only one I could find out on the West Coast was Anchor’s Christmas Ale.  I loved it, I still do actually.  Then in Oregon, we got Wassail and Jubelale, and as the years passed, Winter Microbrews grew like moss on a castle wall in Ireland – they were everywhere, and we’re all better for it.

                I was considering building a list of the top 50 or so winter brews out there.  Then I realized there were so many I HADN’T tried, that any list I produced would just be unfair.  So screw it.  Just go buy your favorite, crack it open, and enjoy the peacefulness of winter.  Cheers!

***Thanks to Stranger at, I couldn't think of anything to write about until I read her snow posts :)

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