Monday, October 23, 2006

Not a morning person?

Harvest...
It is as they say - the best of times...and the worst of times...
Gorgeous panoramas filled with fantastic colors - fruit laden with concentrated aromas waiting to be plucked by virtuous immaculate flaxen haired youths who deliver each berry intact to the cellar, where by miraculous intervention they are transformed into dulcet wine.

In reality harvest pretty much sucks.
But nobody seems to notice that. People romanticize about harvest all the time. Poetry is penned to celebrate it, articles published with embellishments of its grandeur, nobility, what-have-you. Trips are arranged to bring people truly interested in wine to vineyards all over - to watch the harvest, but rarely to participate...
They leave feeling a newfound connection to the subtle multifaceted liquid, as if witnessing the pick itself confers some special moment of nirvana - some Eureka! moment - but without ever feeling the weariness of having spent so much effort to produce it.
I speak not of the efforts of a single day, but months of mowing, tilling, pruning, spraying, leaf-pulling, harvesting, etc. Every day wondering if perhaps Nature has something nasty in store for you in the next few months, or weeks, or maybe just days.

Ask any hay farmer in Texas spooked by every cloud they see as potential downpour which might lay waste to their livelihood, or any Nebraska corn farmer looking to the sky praying against hail...
They know. They'd get it. The tourists rarely do - many wondering aloud why you keep yawning as it's only 9 in the morning...little do they know you've been up since 3:30 or 4 AM, marshalling the troops for the liberation of the captive fruit...yes, it's D-day, and the vineyard is your Normandy...

And also I speak of the people who travel the countryside laboring to get the crop in. Migrant workers mostly, paid a wage which does not seem to adequately reflect the quality nor quantity of toil they perform. Workers, many of whom do not even enjoy the taste of the product they help make, seeking instead beer or slightly sweeter beverages...certainly less expensive ones...
People society under-values, and far too often over-looks...
Enough preaching. Back to what people never seem to experience when they visit during harvest...

Your harvest pains begin when you have to be up and functioning before any caffeine is really circulating through your system...well, that and the fact you never seem to be able to rest fully, are overworked, over stressed, and subsist on pre-packaged convenience foods...which just isn't healthy at all. And that pain multiplies with every week you have to adhere to that regimen.

My harvest has just ended - the final crop I was watching over has been picked. And though this morning I was up yet again without the benefits of a proper breakfast or truly palatable cup of coffee, I was rewarded with what gets people out into the vineyards in the first place: Nature's spectacular dawn.


For a moment everything was right with the world...the quietude, the fantastic colors...there was no social injustice, pain, hunger. Nothing but perfection.
It was Nirvana...nothing needed to be said or done in that perfect moment.
Absolutely fantastic...but now my harvest's over, and I hope Nature doesn't mind if I don't get up 'til 10 tomorrow...

Tomorrow....tomorrow I'm not a morning person...and maybe won't be one again for a week...

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

You left out "sticky with juice" and "stung by yellow-jackets" in your description.
Al

October 24, 2006 8:11 AM  
Anonymous Josh said...

A truly beautiful post. You've captured the raw reality of harvest - ostensibly to demystify - and have actually succeeded in making the entire affair even more romantic.

We are blessed to work this land, and anything true written about grape farming will reflect that.

And there's a lot of truth here.

October 24, 2006 11:45 AM  

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