“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.” — F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby.
Depression is like a nightmare in reverse. You wake up from a horrible dream and your heart is pounding and you’re breaking out in a sweat, but then you realize you’re awake and you feel a flooding sense of relief. Depression is the opposite: you wake up into the nightmare, and there’s no end. It’s insidious, pervasive, it compounds daily like the interest on your student loans, and there is no end in sight. Just sinking.
And so when you’re finally able to see beyond it, to lift your foot up from the quicksand, to angle your mouth above water, whatever metaphor you want to use, it is cause for celebration.
For me, that celebration was exploring a place I’d never been before, and trusting that I’d make it through in one piece. That might seem dramatic, but review what you know about me: I’m a woman who has lived a rather sheltered life thanks to her parents and a deeply misogynist patriarchal culture, and I’ve never traveled alone. One week roadtripping through Michigan and hoping my AirBnB hosts wouldn’t murder me was my fucking Odyssey, man.
I left the house feeling light and relieved. It was the longest I’d have to go before I was back home again. That might seem melodramatic, yet again, but remember, home is more like a prison to me than a sanctuary, a place of respite.
I consulted my itinerary at the gas station. I was to leave at 9AM, which I had done, which would get me to Greenbush in Sawyer, Michigan, by 11:30. I had planned to eat there, and budgeted from 11:30-1pm to take my time and enjoy the spot and its offerings.
This was all well and good until you take into account that I’m a moron and didn’t account for the time difference. I got to Greenbush in a right state of panic, because 15 minutes earlier the clock in my car had said 11:15, and now it was somehow 12:30, and I didn’t have much time AT ALL if I wanted to keep to my schedule, which I absolutely did, because if you didn’t plan in all your fun, were you really having all the fun you could?
(No, you were not. FUN DEMANDS SCHEDULES, guys!)
I arrived at Greenbush and, miracle of miracles, promptly got a seat at the bar. If you’ve ever been to Greenbush, you know what a feat this is, even for one person seeking to sit alone at the bar. The last time I was there, I stood in the corner for a half hour before something opened up, and I wasn’t the only one.
I looked at the list and wasn’t super enthused, as this trip was before I was a proper IPA lover. (It took me about 200 unique IPAs for my palate to actually come to understand and appreciate them. I like them a lot now, but boy, did it take a while.)
I settled on a number of small pours and some food. Mulehead was a Belgian saison at 7.2%, and I also got a Traktor to start, which was a golden creame ale at just 6.1%. They were okay. Good, but not remarkable. I was a little bummed about the lackluster start to my trip – I mean, I was supposed to be blown away by some super flavorful, inventive beer right out of the gate, right?
I got Sunspot and Jukebox Hero, which I liked better, and ordered some kind of brisket sandwich which was great.
Yeah, a world-class photographer, I am NOT.
All in all, I’m glad I started my trip with Greenbush. I feel like you can’t make the mini-pilgrimage from IL to MI without stopping there, especially if one of the main focuses of the trip is beer. The thing is, Sawyer is a tiny little town. Super cute, but tiny. They’ve got cute stores, don’t get me wrong: there’s a fancy coffee shop and a fancy boutique and some other stuff. But it doesn’t have a lot going on, and Greenbush is the main act in town, so that’s where everyone goes.
My time at Greenbush was slightly rushed, very crowded, and little underwhelming. I wouldn’t return for a little more than two years, and I wouldn’t particularly miss it.