Notes from the Cellar: Autumn, amen
by Jeff Cox, Beer and Wine Merchandiser
This article was originally published in October 2010
Ah, hello again, already. It seems as if you never really left. You tried to slip in, barefoot, through the back door, but a few times around the block have made me wise to that game. I knew you were right around the corner.
The writing was on the wall when early September brought the soft staccato of morning rain outside my window, wrapped in aromas of damp, dying foliage doing a Bill Evans thing, weaving strands of dissonance and resolution in a familiar blues. You know from the first riff where it’s going, and once the rhythm section picks up the groove, all the melancholy and wistfulness in the world won’t make it stop.
Instinct tells me to reach for the warm coat and turn up the collar. Some distant ancestor chiseled a letter into my soul, telling me it’s time to come inside, hunker down, throttle back, put on a layer of fat and rest. Why not? What could be better than warmth, a glass of Old Faithful and the comforts of the same old, same old?
The same old can be reassuring and Old Faithful a balm for the soul. Good things but like everything else, best when indulged judiciously. The “same old” becomes mindless marching, comfort can be as much a prison as a refuge, and Old Faithful more pacifier than pleasure, so familiar that we no longer taste it.
Retreat and rest weren’t an option for our ancestors; they were a fact of life, a matter of survival. Now they’re options, in a kaleidoscope of colors and a universe of textures. There are more flavors of Old Faithful than you could ever dream, and you get to choose.
I want an atlas of Old Faithfuls. I want a world of hometown characters that are as alive as I am, that challenge me to roam the back roads, that wax and wane, that are filled, run dry, and return every year with a new tale to tell, the story of places and seasons, works in progress.
So, bring it on, baby. Give me the blues, make ’em bitter, make ’em sweet. Let the cold wind blow. Make it sting. And when I shiver and take refuge inside, let me think — and drink — like Rabelais:
Bottle! whose Mysterious Deep
Do’s ten thousand secrets keep,
With attentive ear I wait;
Ease my mind and speak my Fate.
— rançois Rabelais c. 1494 – 1553