Sunday, August 16, 2015

Genesis in the Vineyard of Eden

On the Third Day of Creation after finishing the world’s greatest reclamation project the Lord said, “Let there be organic vegetables and plants and fruit trees” and so it was that The Grapevine appeared on the earth.  And God said let Durian be the stinkiest of fruits and the grape the sweetest and the Lord loved the grape because it was good. Now the vines that produced the grapes, the fruit the Lord loved, required a lot of work but since God was almighty he could handle it.[1]  God knew the process of fermentation and he drank the fermented fruit of the vine which he called ambrosia. [2]

In the order of creation, the Grapevine was here first and believed she was superior to what came afterwards – especially man - and the Grapevine was jealous of man because God paid more attention to the man and to the man’s wife than to the vines. God loved the man and the man’s wife and gave them everything except ambrosia, for he knew if he gave ambrosia to man it would ruin him and God didn’t want man showing up drunk to church.[3] 

Now the Grapevine was even more subtle than the serpent and said to the reptile, “Why don’t you tell the man’s wife to eat the apple with grapes for a healthier diet?” and the serpent followed the Vine’s suggestion.

The next day the Lord was walking in the Vineyard in the cool of the day – checking for gophers, thinning leaves, spraying against mildew and mowing down weeds (all with the swipe of a finger across his nose) and when he was finished he wanted someone to talk with and looked for the man and his wife but couldn’t find them. “Have you seen the man and his wife?” he asked the Grapevine.
 “Am I my brother’s keeper?” she replied. But the Grapevine knew the man and his wife had hid themselves and covered their nakedness with large grape leaves.
“Adam, where are you?” called the Lord.
“We’re hiding,” replied the man. “We heard you coming and hid behind the grape vines. We have no clothes and are naked.”
“Who told you you were naked?” demanded the Lord. “God damn it! Did you eat the apple I commanded you not to eat after I gave you all these grapes?!” The Lord was pissed and in his furry decreed a perpetual punishment on man – henceforth, he had to toil the soil and be responsible for tending the vines, for the Lord knew there was no worse punishment.

The man was pissed because now on he had to work and with vengeance in his heart took a shovel to hack down the Grapevine.  As the man approached, the Grapevine pleaded, “Please grant me a last drink.”  The man agreed and she took some of her grapes, crushed them into juice, added yeast, shook it, then waited a minute and poured the libation into a cup. The Vine inhaled aromas from the libation with great ceremony then took a sip and oooohhed and aaahhhd.
 “What are you drinking?” asked the man.
“God’s ambrosia,” said the Vine, “which your ancestors will call wine. This is the drink most pleasing to the Lord.”
“Why have I not heard of this?”
“The Good Lord says you are too immature to drink it,” and she added subtly, “He wanted to keep it all for himself.”
The man raised his shovel and demanded, “Let me taste this ambrosia or die!” and the Vine passed the cup to the man who sipped and it was the most amazing thing he had ever tasted – even more luscious than the juice of his wife.
“The recipe is a secret known only by me and God.  He didn’t want you to have it, because he doesn’t believe you are worthy.  It is I who offer you this gift.  If you cut me down, this is the last cup of wine you shall ever taste.  Wine is the cup of salvation,” she said. “Drink this and enjoy everlasting life.”
“How may I get more of this drink?” asked the man whose thirst grew with each sip.
“You can start by not hacking me down.”  The man lowered his shovel.  “If you cut down the vine of life, you cut off life. If you separate yourself from the vine, you will die.  Let’s work together,” the Vine proposed. “You care for me and I’ll produce grapes for you. I’ll teach you how to turn the grapes into wine. And, in the fullness of time, you’ll get rich and your New York descendants will have a monopoly on wine distribution.”
“Deal,” said the man, who was seduced by the allure of the Vine and the promise of more wine.
“Whenever you drink the fruit of the vine do so in remembrance of me.”
“Cheers!” said the man and they drank to the bottom of the glass. The Vine poured him another glass then another. Later that afternoon the Lord, walking through the vineyard, found the man and his wife passed out and mourned the loss of his creation. So man and woman became caretakers of the Vine and the true fall of man began when man worshiped wine more than God.

Man and his wife believed they were masters of the Vine, but the Vine – the subtlest of all creation - had a long-term game plan.

With instructions from the Vine, man took cuttings from the Vine and planted them into the ground to propagate new varietals.  Cabernet Franc and Sauvingnon Blanc begat Cabernet Sauvignon.  Pinot Noir and Cinsault begat Pinotage.  Dr. Durriff and Syrah begat Petite Sirah. And so and so begat so and so. The first year the man and his sons pulled fledgling grapes off of the young vines to strengthen their roots.  The second year the vines grew taller than the man and he pulled the fruit to make the vine even stronger. The third year the man, his wife and their sons harvested the grapes and made a blush wine and it was pretty good, especially on a hot summer day.  The fourth year the man and his sons harvested the grapes and made red wine and it washed down the pasta pretty well. As the years passed the vines waxed stronger and stronger and the wine improved and the Lord took fewer walks through the vineyard and as the Lord was seen less often by the man he drifted further and further away from his Creator and grew fonder and fonder of the wine.

Each year the vines grew stronger while the man grew older, and while the wine made by the grapes improved with age the man did not,  imperceptible at first, but with each year, an ache in the hand here, a pain in the foot there, and over the years the ailments compounded. In his youth, man was master of the Vine and harvested the grapes and perfected the art of winemaking, but the Vine seduced man with wine, central to her plan.  The Vine provided wine to the man for lunch and suggested to him to enjoy the lifestyle of his Mediterranean cousins and he started taking siestas and worked less and put on weight and while he slept the Vine grew taller and stronger.  She whispered to the man, “Plant more,” and the man listened, believing more vines and more wine would make him happier and the vines sang hypnotic songs in the vineyard – which German poets would call “Lorelei” about a siren above the river Rhine who caused ships to crash on the rocks.  Lorelei was a grapevine and she and other vines seduced men and women with their music.  One afternoon after drinking his fill of the fermented fruit of the vine the man awoke and his beard was long and white and the vine was long and green, and the vine wrapped its tendrils around the man’s ankles, and although the man was tired he brushed her back, but the vine persevered and the next year wrapped herself around his ankles and thighs and the man could only train her back to his ankles and it was the beginning of the end, for in the fullness of time the man would succumb and the vine would rule, and when she ruled, she would nourish the birds of the vineyard who nested between her breasts with her grapes for that was the way Mother Nature intended.  The man would die, be cremated and his ashes spread in the vineyard, which nourished the vines even more and was their ultimate victory.

You dream of owning a vineyard?  A vineyard will consume all your time, drain you, kill you, then devour you.

[1] In those days this paradise was called the Vineyard of Eden before Hebrew historians renamed it the Garden of Eden and The Grapevine was Queen of the Fruits.
[2] Christian historians state Jesus was right up there at the right hand of God at this time and joined the Lord for happy-hours and patented a method for turning water into wine but about this I’m not so sure because I missed Sunday school the week that was taught because my parents had a hangover.
[3] When followers of the Son of God started serving wine in church that was the start of church schisms because at the beginning God did everything in his power to keep wine away from man.

(C) Copyright 2015, Craig Justice, All Rights Reserved. Permission granted to quote with credit.