This morning Honey and I took a walk down the dirt road at the bottom of the vineyard, past the tractor pad and the insectary and up the hill to the old oak tree. It is the same walk we have taken countless times over the years, sometimes to observe and attend to matters at hand and sometimes to merely enjoy the essence of our cozy little vineyard. Today everything is once again familiar, the straight rows of vines reaching to the top of the hill on my right, the tangle of oaks, snowberry and poison oak on my left. The road is dry and we kick up small clouds of dust along the way.
But today is different; everything has changed. Where once a late summer, early autumn walk along this road could produce feelings of anxiety, even dread as harvest approached, the mood today is lighter, friendlier, and I find myself smiling inwardly. At the top of the hill, the grapevines stand faithfully as the morning sun begins to touch their topmost leaves with the promise of a warm autumn day. With leaves a mix of fall foliage color, they look tired after the season-long struggle to ripen their treasure. It is quiet save for the slight hiss of the drip of irrigation as the vines receive their last manual watering for the year.
The vines are bare, the grapes have been harvested, and the vineyard is quiet as it prepares for a long rest before the cycle begins anew next spring. It was a good harvest I tell Honey and I sing to her as we walk back to the house.
The sun, with all those planets revolving around it and dependent on it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as if it had nothing else in the universe to do. – Galileo Galilei