First press

First press

Dear Sor Juana,

I love how vineyards reflect the seasons and the cycle of life and at this time of year the harvest is on around me, in the cool of the evening when the sugar has reached its desired level bunches of grapes leave the vine. It is vintage.

The picking by human hand or mechanical beast methodically works its way down each and every row, leaving behind stalks, lizards, snails, earwigs and hard dried pellets of grapes dehydrated by an unseasonal heat wave. The care of the vineyard manager to bring the best yield forward to market, with the promise of a bonus is in the air. You can smell the fermentation already beginning in the waste dumped on the soil behind the sheds, and the early juices are rising to the top in the bins waiting for collection to go to the winemaker. It is vintage.

Harvest in Hand

Harvest in Hand

A bunch of grapes clings together and only has meaning as a bunch, individual grapes always look very lonely to me.

I am sure you loved grapes and wine Sor Juana and you did write about racimos (cluster) in your play and had fun with Bacchus the god of wine and Racimo as characters in a farce – your appreciation between wine and a bunch of grapes shone through! I visited award-winning vineyards this week as a racimos – three old friends and I – a lovely afternoon in the sunshine of the Fleurieu Peninsula. All from similar root-stock, although grafted onto different varieties we shared our common appreciation of place, story and wine. It was a vintage all of its own the colour of shiraz , deep, sweet and harvested, sipped in between swigs of Family Reserve in the kitchen at Finniss.

The metaphor of vines, vineyard and wine is never a cliché for me – it is a constant connection to art and science and the cycle of life and it is vintage.  All the senses are open and my love affair with where I live continues.

Vines on Finniss

Vines on Finniss

The Opening of Eyes

That day I saw beneath dark clouds
the passing light over the water
and I heard the voice of the world speak out,
I knew then, as I had before
life is no passing memory of what has been
nor the remaining pages in a great book
waiting to be read.

It is the opening of eyes long closed.
It is the vision of far off things
seen for the silence they hold.
It is the heart after years
of secret conversing
speaking out loud in the clear air.

It is Moses in the desert
fallen to his knees before the lit bush.
It is the man throwing away his shoes
as if to enter heaven
and finding himself astonished,
opened at last,
fallen in love with solid ground.

 — David Whyte
from Songs for Coming Home
©1984 Many Rivers Press


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