October 7, 2012
The last of the fruit hung up until now.
A relatively dry year.
Most of the storms channeling west, or east of us.
A welcome change from last year,
filling our hearts with hope for the long-term.
Vintages more like this would be a godsend,
and we expect them to present themselves.
After all, everything is an improvement upon the constant rain and clouds for two months leading into the 2011 harvest.
Eye to eye with Cabernet Franc, the last of the harvest was underway.
“Look west,” Tom said.
From my crouched position,
I stood up straight,
to bring my head up to the top of the canopy.
Off in the distance,
a dark strip of clouds ran parallel with the vine row.
Up to my tip-toes I reached,
to see more.
The thin dark strip was maybe 20 minutes away.
“Should we bring in what we’ve got?” I asked, feeling a little concerned.
Tom, in thought, picked a few more clusters
then, calm and confident, “Yes. Let’s get them in.”
We trekked up our vine rows, and met at the top.
The Gator turned down the first row,
Myself following behind,
collecting and stacking grape lugs onto the back, up to chin height.
As Tom drove at a careful crawl, I leaned into the lugs,
preventing any threatening sway.
The clouds were encroaching, but slow enough.
After two loads, and ten minutes later, the lugs were nestled safely into the horse trailer.
On my way back down my vine row,
back to snipping clusters,
I passed Scott, one of our volunteers,
and chuckled out, “Looks like we’re going to get a little wet.”
Despite the poor outlook, my spirits were high.
A slight of rain would do little to dampen the quality of this years’ crop.
I slipped the harvest pruners from my pocket,
and sped my walk to match the downslope of the hill.
Clusters dropped easier, cooperating with the desire of my hands.
The same was happening for Scott, as he kept pace with myself.
Significant progress was being made,
and the completion of harvest was in sight.
Though the clouds were closing in.
In the Western distance, tree leaves rustled, letting fall their first autumn leaves.
Chilly and persistent,
pattered upon us in threads.
Thousands of interwoven breezes I could feel,
working like braids through the vines,
twisting senescing leaves off as they twirled,
and sweeping in cold air.
Immediate and shocking.
Straight overhead. The dark
was even creeping past us now.
Surely, the drops overhead were enjoying a free-fall,
coasting towards their end.
“Was that a drop?” I thought.
On my hair was maybe something.
it was barely noticeable,
and barely tiny.
and the clusters continued to drop,
while we held on in anticipation
for the clouds to release.
My heart beat faster.
My hands moved quicker.
The clouds loomed.
My senses heightened.
The rain would fall now
the clouds would hold patient
…slip right on by,
to leave us clean,