mumford & sons // winter winds
was it love or fear of the cold?
Whenever I’m forced to live through excessive amounts of snow, I’m left wanting only comfort: comfort food (chili), comfortable clothes (sweater tights and flannel), comforting drinks (whiskey/tea or whiskey/coffee - it’s actually good!), comfort music (Bon Iver), and comforting places. Comforting places are becoming a little more difficult to find. As I’ve mentioned a multitude of times, I went to college at a small liberal arts college in northern (okay, it’s what I consider northern - I suppose it’s actually central/east) Wisconsin, where it would snow sometimes five days out of the week (this was probably related more to the outrageous weather pattern of the last three years), the sun set routinely at four o’clock, and there was no major body of water to cut the wind chill or add moisture to the snow and air. At first I resented the location - being from southern Wisconsin, the weather hardly seemed novel, like it did to friends from other parts of the country. Eventually, the kitschy, somewhat antiquated comforts of a northern midwestern community that my university could provide turned out to provide the backdrop for some of my most treasured memories from college.
We were blessed with a campus bar in the basement of our old student union that opened at four on Wednesdays and Fridays, and a cafeteria that had seemingly missed the memo about margarine and other healthy eating options. During the winter of my senior year I took a class called “Zymurgy,” which meant “Beer Tutorial,” which meant we got to drink beer in the bar before it opened with professors, and then we got to talk about the beer. The beauty of the class revolved around drinking delicious, expensive, imported beer, talking about it with importance, and doing all this with professors. The class was held from three to five on Thursday, which meant we were sitting underground in front of sheets of glass windows as the sun was folding behind the river for the evening. We all seemed to dress like eskimos, so we sat bundled in our sweaters and scarves and corduroy pants, gradually peeling off layers as we filled our glasses with the contents of multiple pitchers and watched day turn to night. The time spent in this class is my ideal version of a “snow day,” so much so that it is difficult to struggle through snowy afternoons at work without wondering how much more fun I would be having, were I sitting on an uncomfortable wooden bench, surrounded by fourteen peers, three professors, and as many pitchers of Belgian beer, grasping a mug imprinted with my initials, dutifully taking notes in our beer journals, drowning out the outdoor chill with every sip.