“It was dim but my eyes were adjusting and my foothold was solid so I kept moving forward with the use of my hands against the wet, mossy rock. The quest was like a muted volcano about to burst from my gut. There was a stubborn goal that I was incapable of ignoring and my movement was swift with the light weight of burden. I was forced to keep moving forward. I came upon a sliver of horizontal glow about twenty clicks ahead which enhanced the ability to see what was beneath my toes. I was suddenly seeing all around me. I was studying the terrain as I moved forward. My feet, bare, clutched around the uneven cobble floor as my hands kept their stretch against the dripped moss on the walls. I moved towards the light with a clear direction and steady gumption.

As I arrived at the opening it was apparent that it would be too small for my frame to squeeze through. I struggled with the rocks searching for a loose corner or break in the armor of the structure but was met with solid defense. Not wanting to let my location be noticed, I was working as quietly as possible but the need to reach the other side was building with the time spent.

My struggle then became a question. There was no chance for me to return my footsteps backwards; I have come too far to turn out.

It began with a whisper.

‘Hello,’ I said into the ether through the shallow crack of light.

‘I’m here to see the Oracle.’

I pleaded.

Suddenly the light changed. I couldn’t decipher what was different about it but it felt like it was moving through me.

The light got brighter. I was now standing awash in the glow and could see three hundred and sixty degrees around me without restraint. A wind grew in strength. I stood still as the breeze grew and chilled the drip around me.

Within the gale came a voice. It said, ‘Password.’

Maybe it was the cold or maybe it was my patience being frayed but I said the first word that came to my brain. I said, to apparently no one, ‘Swordfish.’

The light cut out.

Total darkness without light or squall.

Everything lay silent.

I felt movement but could not determine exactly what it was so I stood still in anticipation.

Without notice, everything was illuminated.

There was no sliver. There were no walls. I was standing on a single cobblestone awash in the vast emptiness of a cavern with nothing to support my frame.

A low bass note built getting louder and louder and louder to the point where I was almost swayed from my position.

And then I saw her, the Oracle I had commissioned to seek. She looked like this.

She spoke in hushed tones barely heard but I deciphered the words, ‘What do you seek?’

Nervously, I said, ‘Your advice, Oracle.’

She said, ‘What do you wish to know.’

I took a second to gather myself. I had travelled many moons to stand here. I had left too numerous a population in order to fault myself with a impatient response.

I asked, ‘Where can I find happiness?’

There was a long pause. From the atmosphere came the words, ‘Ice Fishing,’ and then darkness once again.

However, I felt my body had a solid predicament. There were walls again. I turned and the position that I was in was now at the end of another hallway. I began walking towards the new sliver at the end of the tunnel.

Once I arrived there was a door. I made no hesitation checking the knob before turning it and opening it.

Before me was a frozen lake covered in snow. I found myself dressed to weather the elements complete with boots and a hat. I walked towards the ice as the cavern dissolved around me. I was now standing in the middle of the lake surrounded by a vast array of hills and trees all covered in snow with a calming silence only obtained during winter with snow.

I looked at the mittens covering my hands and the lanyard that connected them to my coat. I was grasping ice fishing tools complete with an auger.

I pressed the auger into the snow and began turning the spike into the ice with little to no restraint. I reached for an ice clearing shovel once the ice had been penetrated and found one where I wanted it. I cleared the soft snow from the hole and set a worm onto the hook of the rod and slowly lowered it into the water. I was not cold but my breath played as ballerinas do with the mix of temperatures.

A tug came to the lure. It was a strong fight but I pulled the prize towards the surface. As it came closer I was allowed its shape.

I pulled it from the water, dripping and focused my attention to it interpreting that it was Idletyme Brewing Company’s Pink and Pale. I had heard of this American Pale Ale made with Grapefruit but its legend had never crossed my lips. I baited the hook again and lowered my string into the icy water.

Another tug came and yet another struggle happened, this time resulting in Hill Farmstead Dorothy. It was a tough decoding project since the beer seemed to fit in many styles all at once yet completely defining itself at the same time. It, to me, is a Farmstead Pale Ale using the name Farmstead from Hill Farmstead since this beer is a dry hopped Saison yet there was the use of a wildish yeast in order to make the product so, as the reader can digest, it is a beer from the depths of the Farmstead itself. The fact that the brewery itself denotes this style as Dorothy’s makeup allows me to believe that I was on the right course of naming.

This manner continued.

Other struggles brought other prizes.

One saw me unearth from the water Oskar Blues’ Death By Coconut, a fabulous American Porter made with Coconut because they wanted it to be so.

I could go on but the actions caused a pause.

Why ice fishing?

Why had the oracle sent me here to discover beers?

And then it hit me. More then just an adage of the journey being more important than the destination, this was a teaching moment and I was the student and when the student is ready the teacher will present themselves. Happiness IS getting all of these things all at once; at working towards a goal and coming away with what I needed at that time.

Happiness IS Three Penny. That’s what it’s all about. You know, kind of like the Hokey Pokey.”

- Dude, you’re fifteen minutes late. I’m not really concerned with the lie, I wasn’t even mad that you were late. You could have walked in here and just said, ‘traffic’ out loud and I wouldn’t have cared. Why come up with some story?

- It was just way more fun that way and I was practicing the use of my adjectives as well as completing a project for my English As A Second Language course.

- Yeah, but now your credibility is completely questioned. And, besides, you already speak English.

- That’s totally your opinion. And, that’s why I took the course, I’m totally getting an “A” right now.

- [stares blankly]

Till next time! Same Bat Time Same Bat Channel.

Thanksforplacatingmeandlettingmegoonalittlejourneyofmyown Taproom