Monday, December 14, 2015

Carry On Wayward Son

There are those days in one’s life that mark a moment that is more than just a day. This day is such a one. I don’t talk about it much anymore, but when I was younger, in my 20’s, I was faced with a decision. Looking back, I have no regrets. But like anyone from the perspective of time looking back at the fire of youth, I see it with many more layers now than I did then.


For 37 years I have been wandering far from home, so far and so long that home no longer exists. Family has spread out, diaspora-like, and with it the world has effused with population and information. So much now that it appears as if we all are wanderers, homeless, without a base. Except for the connection we all seem to have, this talking to one another, be it in person or in some kind of virtual way.

The Jesuit philosopher/paleontologist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin informed much of my future, along with Buckminster Fuller and a few other souls who, although they didn’t appear to be looking into the future, nonetheless, envisioned a world that we are now in. Along with it are a lot of ugly things. But there is light and there are pathways.

Teilhard de Chardin's notion of the noosphere and the layer of consciousness we find ourselves virtually ensconced, how fitting that it was done so quickly, so seamlessly. And yet here we are, arguing, sometimes, violently, about the way to spell Abraham's name.

Segueing on to the wine trail, and Italy. Always Italy. Maybe not where I was born, but now, as then, my original home. The place I look to for inspiration, for sustenance and for the outflowing of light and warmth and liquid manifestation. Yes, we’re talking about wine.

The Italian American writer, Gay Talese, on writing about Frank Sinatra, noted the Sicilian concept of uomini rispettati - men of respect:
In traditional Sicily there is what have
long been called uomini rispettati -
men of respect: men who are both
majestic and humble, men who are
loved...men who exact respect from
others and who should not be harmed.
While many people who have read these words think he is talking solely about a mafia-like culture, those with Sicilian blood know this is deeper and older than that. Its origin is more likely the Nile Valley than Caltanissetta. It is also most likely the source of many of today’s conflicts, albeit skewed by centuries of time and sand and swagger and hate. But I’m not talking about that interpretation.

One of the reasons my life changed so drastically on this day, many years ago, was over the idea of respect. In no small way does this idea inform my movements, my motivations and my raison d'être.

Over the weekend, I went into a new restaurant in the town I live in now for more years of my life than anywhere else combined. My “new” home. And waiting there were wines on the list, from Italy, and people who were staffing the place who were engaging, welcoming and respectful. And for that brief moment, I luxuriated in the glow of acceptance and, with no small dose of humility, accomplishment. It was one of those moments in which I felt my work in wine and Italian wine had taken hold. I clutched it for just a moment, as one can only do with particles of light and stardust. But what a defining moment it was to me.

There is hope. There are pathways. There is a future. And there is a place at the American table for Italy and her wines. And for this wayward son.



wine blog +  Italian wine blog + Italy W

1 comment:

Brian Larky said...

Alfonso: Ce' sempre speranza! Oh yes.
Appreciated this piece, another example of why I respect and enjoy your perspective, wayward son or not.

Real Time Analytics