Anyone who knows me (now after writing this, a bunch of people who kind of know me) knows that I really like Whiskey. Now to be really specific, I like Scotch Whiskey, Irish Whiskey, Duluth Whiskey. In that order. I’m not a fan of Bourbon. Canadian whiskey I don’t mind if you mix it with a coke, ginger ale, etc.
I don’t actually drink it that much to be honest, who can afford that hobby.
But when I get a chance, I enjoy sitting on a porch listening to rain fall on a metal roof, sip a bit of peaty whiskey, smoke a pipe and talk about the amazing love of Jesus and all the ways I am blown away by the mysteries and big questions of life.
Give me that looking over a lake in the north woods, the song of a Loon pining for it’s mate, and I would be positive I was sitting in paradise.
Now something a few more people know about me, is that I absolutely adore, astronomy.
Since the days of my youth, laying on the rocky shores of Lake Superior, staring at the heavens, I have been drawn to the sciencey knowledge of the observable.
I can remember being somewhere around 5-7 years old, learning what makes a good bon-fire, and through trial and error, seeing how, fuel, heat and air need to be in balance. And everything from the geology of the exposed bed rock, to the migrating Monarch, from the physics of skipping a rock on water, to the red moon rising, I have been captured by all of it.
But the first love, the stars, still hold a secure place in my heart.
So for my birthday this year, Jess, who is by far the best gift giver I have ever seen, once again got for me the best gift. For example one of my birthdays; she gathered my friends and reserved the Duluth Planetarium for a private show, another she got me an hour flying a single engine air plane. But this year, was a beautiful mix of some of my favourite things.
This one, a Whiskey tasting, but wait there is more.
A whiskey from the Isles.
Glorious in it’s golden brown goodness. Perfectly precious in it’s soft peatiness. Blatantly brazen in it’s bite. It was an apex of auspicious ambrosia.
But the whole story is so much better.
We began our trek through Birmingham. Our destination, Millennium Point, the Think Tank.
Our journey had it’s usual decor, pieces of derelict, mixed with generation upon generation of thought, art and culture. We made a few fun little discoveries.
First the beautiful red brick facade of the Magistrate Court. We took a few minutes and examined the little nooks and crannies.
Trying to again live out the words of a friend in Mexico City, “Fall in love with your city. Find the spots no one sees, steal for yourselves the hide aways, walk, pray, hope, dream. Fall in love, with your city.”
After admiring the workmanship and artistic creativity of a bygone year, thinking thoughts of, “No one makes things like that anymore.” We said goodbye to our moment of reflection and renewed our steps.
As we approached the park, we could hear it, the thump, thump of music. It was the hard bass of someones beat. When we turned the corner, we saw a group of boys and men mixed in age and race.
We sat on a bench, again admiring from afar, the dedication, the bravery, the creativity. We were approaching our time and knew we could not stay long. But for a few minutes I watched as these men, taking mere wheels attached to layered wood and turned it into a dance.
Kick flips, ollies, grinds, riding fakie, 180s, 360s. It was beautiful, once again, beauty all around.
We hurried now right by the old ruined Curzon Station, waiting for it’s rebirth, towering still in it’s dilapidated state, old promises still hanging from it’s columns. Perhaps it will truly be the phoenix many hope.
Entering the building, my eyes were drawn up, following escalators, I could see as each level was dedicated to the progress and betterment of this fine city. A collaboration of University and Populace. Computers for use, studios for art, classes for everything from acting to computer science. We continued up, and up, and up. Entering the hallway to our destination I could hardly contain.
As we approached the room, displays of robotics, and space.
To my right an old newtonian in a case, next to a wise old globe and what seemed like two ancient Orrey devices.
But wait a second… we were here for Whiskey, right?
We entered a room. Dark, with simple strings playing lightly in the background.
Glowing in the centre seven meters of high definition imagery.
A 1:500,000 scale globular model. Lit with a familiar silvery blue hue.
There she was Maan, Uydu, Lua, Kuu, Luna, the Moon.
Surrounded by 10 tables, each with 7 placements of 6 different whiskeys.
The murmuring of whiskey fans crept to my ears from the dimly lit room. I circled this piece of instillation art, admiring the work of an artists hand glorifying The Artist’s hand.
I positioned us to over look the Mare of Tranquility. So I could point out the first landing of humans on the moon, and look closely wondering if I would catch a glimpse of minuscule human impacts buried somewhere in the pixels; footprints, blast marks, or a faded flag and it’s commentary on history repeated.
We swirled and allowed our noses to take in the aroma of the Isles.
We sipped, and waited while the bite dissipated into flavours, vanilla, port, peat, and chilli pepper.
We let it linger, turning syrupy, and giving time for the pepper to really show itself.
Finishing, then taking in a deep breath, allowing the full experience to weigh heavy on the senses. Silence, and joy.
We worshiped Jesus that he gave us eyes to see such beauty that day, noses to enjoy someone else’s creation, taste buds to shout for the joy of life, and minds to explore, remember and comprehend it all.
What a day. This year started out great!