I went for a walk in the wine country today and of course it was beautiful. I wasn’t sure where I was going exactly, I just knew I wanted to go up, to higher ground, in search of a view of the valley and the green yellow rows and rows of vines below. It had rained last night, and the wetness made everything glisten glossy in the slanted morning sun.
I am not from the wine country, a friend lives here, and my outsiderness was a great asset today as I walked. I could smell the earth, distinct and herbaceous, like wet spongy green moss though it was just wet black dirt. Intermittently I could smell the damp eucalyptus, caught in a breeze and delivered to me, fresh and healing, enticing me into deeper breaths like the Vic’s Vapor rub I use when my sinuses hurt. California gold finches played around me lighting and flying, I felt a little bit like Snow White sans the evil queen and sans any saving kiss.
It’s Fall here, post fires, post harvest. At the tasting rooms and restaurants you can hear the locals talking of harvest, of the fires, of who got their fruit up, who made it to crush. It was a disaster, some made it through and some didn’t. Fire and wind are unpredictable and indiscriminate. But it’s calm here now… the work has been done and it’s time to wait for the grapes, newly crushed, to turn into something amazing. I keep thinking about the crush, wondering how it’s done, what it looks like, if there was anything about it similar to the way I got crushed last night.
The reason I’m in the area is I had a workshop in San Francisco this weekend, and I’ll tell you workshop is an understatement. I paid a lot of money to spend 12 hours a day, 3 days in a row, with a group of people all in search of having our lives transformed. I am somewhat of a gypsy, a seeker, and I will always long for transformation. It’s in my DNA, which according to new research is also always transforming and changing as well which I am happy to hear. I left the weekend to unwind in wine country, transformed with a freshly minted vow of authenticity and commitment to courageous integrity. To speak up, to speak out, to connect and try not to hold secrets like humans hold, to not hold my secrets, one of which is a long-standing crush on the friend I am visiting. After tasting rooms and wine, and meals and wine, and wine and wine watching the sideways Fall sun set turning the valley of yellow-leafed vines dark, I decided no better time than the present to actualize my transformation and commitment to honesty, and reveal my crush to my friend. Well……. Crushed. It didn’t go the way I imagined in my wine softened mind. Not reciprocated and disruption to a long and beautiful friendship not really appreciated. I thought when you forged into new and evolved territory, when you committed to living life to the fullest and being the best version of yourself possible including truth telling and authentic confessions, the universe would at least have your back and provide a shiny new world, or at least a soft and tender landing. Yeah, that didn’t happen. I’m not sure if I feel more betrayed by the unreliability of my own mind and what I thought was real, or the universe for allowing me to drop flat on my face.
So today as I am walking, and thinking about the vineyards, and the grapes, about the smoky-sky apocalyptic harvest as the hills burned and neighbors helped neighbors. I keep thinking about the crushing and saying a private prayer that I can be a grape. That I can sit, post crushing, and if I wait, and if I am attended to by the friends I shared my disaster with, and I let the lesson set and ferment, to steep and change inside me, my own personal crushing will someday transform me into something amazing. Years from now I will be known, and celebrated, tasted and someone will take a long slow drink of me and tell me all the perfect components were present the year of my crushing.