A Hallowed Harvest
October 31, 2007
I am going to usurp an idea a friend of ours shared at a harvest party last year. He, (the one who posted the eloquent comment on What is Wine Anyway?), shaped some of his thoughts on the season around the letters for HARVEST and it got me thinking too. So over the past few days, I’ve been pondering the feelings that this time of year arouses in me, and tried to capture them here . . .
H — Hope. There’s something about harvest that conveys hope to me. It’s the end of a cycle, a time of reaping what was sown in faith, knowing it would grow.
A — Abundance. I feel such gratitude during harvest for the abundance that it brings. Some of it is subtle, a smile that creeps up when I smell the sweetness of crushed fruit on the breeze. Some of it is intimate, gathering with close friends to laugh and toast and enjoy the fruits of our (well, their) labors. And some is universal, a feeling that the earth has yielded what it will for this year, and that now is the time for restoration.
R — Rest. I love how the pace here slows as winter sets in — in the vineyards, in our homes. It’s a time when we’re deepening our roots and gaining nourishment to enable the fruits of the next season to flourish.
V — Varied. When I hear people say that California doesn’t have ‘real’ seasons, I always beg to differ (and I grew up in Illinois and Connecticut, so I know what people mean by ‘real’ seasons). No, we don’t get snow (although the Mayacaymas mountains do get dusted every few years, and it is magnificent), but each year I’m riveted by the beauty of the vines in their cloak of colors, and the way the autumn mist adds an otherworldly element in the morning. We most certainly do have seasons here in wine country.
E — Exuberant. When I think of harvest, I think of laughter. Every year, we help out our friends with harvest in some way, shape or form. I think about laughter floating above the vines as we clip grape clusters row to row. Or the mishaps that weave their way into our collective stories after a day of pressing. And the lighthearted laughter shared around the table (enhanced by silly song lyrics and grapevine ‘crowns’ to be sure).
S — Sustenance. Sustenance is about more than just fueling your body with what it needs to survive, it’s about being a part of a larger whole that feeds our soul . . . as is harvest. Sharing the bounty with those we love is just as much sustenance as the fruits of harvest itself.
T — Trust. I sometimes find it hard watching the vines go dormant, the garden laid bare–both literally and metaphorically. I get impatient for the next season of growth to arrive. But I need to trust–that the buds will come again, that the fruit will follow, and even that there is purpose to this season of starkness.
PS — Seeing as it is Halloween, I thought today would be a good time to mention that we’ll be getting a new look here at Swirling Notions soon. But before we launch the new design, if you have any thoughts—what you wish you’d see here, something you don’t think belongs—I’d love to hear. Thanks!