Saturday, September 22, 2012

Rooted To The Vine

Agliancio (nick named "Ugly
Hanako" just before harvest
Sept 22 2012
When netting the vines the other month, which seems like years ago, I noticed that the leaves of shoots we cut and left to the ground turned brown and dried within days. Despite the oppressively hot weather, the leaves flourished as part of the vine, but when cut soon faded.

A shoot cut from the vine quickly withers and dies.

With the changing of the seasons from Summer to Autumn and another harvest upon us, we've been running around like crazy and are exhausted. For a moment, the grapes have been picked. There are no fermentations to punch down. No batches of wine to press. No barrels to bottle. For a moment, there is peace, the eye of a hurricane, before the frenzy will start again. A moment for reflection, to remember the day of changing seasons, the memorial of our planting, to give thanks for our blessings and for all those who helped us reach this point, for the friends and neighbors who helped pick, for the workers who carried heavy loads we couldn't possibly move ourselves, for the parents who nurtured us, and  a never ending list of people, giving them prayers and thanksgiving. Yes, we built this vineyard, and we know we didn't do it alone.

If a shoot cut from the vine quickly withers, should we not live our lives fully rooted in the vineyard?

Rising sun, raising the nets.
It has been our custom each harvest to re-read from the simple liturgy prepared by Father Bill Lieber of Grace Episcopal Church (San Marcos, CA) for the Blessing of The Blue-Merle Vineyard some 5 years ago, but in the rush to gather the grapes before the heat rises there were no champagne toasts, no parties (the vineyardista, still remembering the effects of that heart stoppage in early June and insisting on no events), no blessing of the workers, nor the grapes, nor of our friends who came to assist (despite the vineyardista's wishes, except for silent prayers I managed to sneak in before dawn before everyone started to arrive). When it was over, I realized the customary prayers and blessings were dropped this year.

I retrieved the printed liturgy from its drawer and read:

"Holy God, let me always be rooted in you so that I may live in you and you in me.

Bless me so that your grace may flow through me, allowing me to bear your fruit to a hungry and helpless world.

As I wonder, prune me of all that inhibits your growth in me.

Let me do nothing apart from you so that your joy may be complete in me. Amen."

Bluey, ready to begin
his hunt for grapes.
The vineyardista whose heart stopped after working in the vines June 6th and was back out there when she returned from the hospital one week later, has been outside among her vines everyday since, even with temperatures exceeding 100 degrees. Live by the vine. Die by the vine.

Vineyard is art. Vineyard is life.

Brigit (over 80 years old), Madonna and Maggie.

Reese tackles Aglianico.

Jim clips a grape and not his

Madonna shows a prize. Next
to her his Luce.

Stephanie brings home the Zin.