Sunday, April 01, 2018

Parting with the shadow to pursue the substance

Eo Romam iterum crucifigi

How easy it is, these days, to give in to the dark and destructive tendencies which seem to be roiling the bipeds on the spaceship. What is the best way to say goodbye to some (if not all) of the constant haranguing that is filling up our cup these days? Is there a path out of the shadow, towards a more meaningful purlieu? I have spent the greater part of my adult life in service of something, someone, whether it is family or company or the other. Serving something. I am now at a juncture in my life and the sign on the trail clearly says, quo vadis?

I have been thinking like a grape vine, for much of my work life. There is a season, starting with the dead of winter. We prune our habits, cutting out that which we know will not work in the coming year. The advance of the growing season comes with little daily movements. A shoot, a bud, a leaf. And then we pick up momentum, growing, growing, growing, until summer arrives. And then it’s sun, heat, grow some more. Maybe too much. Clean up some of the shoots, growing too far out this way or that. Look out for the fruit, protect it, nurture it, bend it. and then, rush, rush, rush to pick it and preserve it, get it in, crush it and put it in a safe place and wait. And collapse again, only to have it start over and over again.

This has been my life of work. I’ve followed the season of the grape, and been a trafficker of fermented juice. We’ve talked to the prospects about this one or that one. We’ve clashed with our rivals for this place on a list, that space on a shelf. Bigger battles have ensued over a by-the-glass feature, or an endcap display. Shelf talkers became bulwarks to encourage unsuspecting consumers to cross over to our side. In the foxholes, it often got down and dirty and sometimes, very dark. All for some farmer somewhere who must do daily battle with a myriad of aggressors. Mold, hail, frost, wind, fungus, winged creatures, large and small, four legged poachers, deer and wild boar. All so that enthusiasts can take pictures of their precious liquid trophies and do battle over a table of preserved meats or on a bulletin board, aiming arrows at another because their opinion needs to be heard. This is why we were brought here on this earth?

I’m lately more obsessed with what appears to be the end of a cycle. A bottle of wine, stored carefully in my petite armoire, which when opened, smells off. Tastes good, but something in the nose has been altered. All the heartache and passion of getting the crushed grapes to this point, only to have it not make it, having already crossed over to the bardo, and too soon. With a bottle of wine, you can just go into the closet and get another one. With a loved one, not at all. And with oneself, as one looks over the swath of their life’s labors, again it raises the question, quo vadis?

Maybe it is to go to Rome to be crucified, although I believe that is for far greater souls than I. But I do hope, as I pass from the shadow into the sunlight, to, at long last, revel in an entwinement of substance.

“Oh God, here he goes again,” Arlecchino whispers in the shadows. “He thinks his ‘64 Monfortino is going to live forever.” It might seem like that to the new arrival to these posts. But for those who have traveled along the wine trail with me, you know I’m not just talking about myself. Yes, I’m grappling with what to do with all this wine I’ve amassed. And yes, I’m tussling with my mortality as well. Aren’t we all? But more than which wine with which food or what is the best Barolo in the Langhe, I’m stretching to find the core – the essence. And quite likely I will be doing as long as I’m marooned on this tiny rock hurtling through space at unimaginable speeds.

I am in the process of distilling my work life into a simpler articulation. I no longer have a need for wide swaths, large campaigns. That is for the ascending generation now. I’m looking forward to the next steps. And I hope to dispatch what I find with you, here, on the wine trail in Italy. Thanks for reading.

wine blog +  Italian wine blog + Italy W

8 comments: said...

Congratulations on retirement. It is the first day of the rest of your life. When you feel life stretched out before you with no clear path and free days ahead, it can be somewhat daunting. It is like opening a bottle of wine from a vintage you are completely unfamiliar with. You will find your way and your palette will open up to new tastes, sounds, smells and adventures. I hope they sometimes includee me. Love, Sis

Gary said...

Looking forward to reading about it! Buona Pasqua!

Alfonso Cevola said...

Thanks, Sis...I will see you in you. Happy Easter

...and Buona Pasqua to you too, Gary!

Marco Mandala said...

Bravo, bona fortuna and Buona Pasqua!

magnumvino said...

"I no longer have a need for wide swaths, large campaigns. That is for the ascending generation now" I think I have been here for awhile. I am eager to read more amico.

Marius Fries said...

You really retired, Alfonso ? Wishing you all the best for your new life and hope you carry on with this wonderful blog ! Marius

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Maybe you should change the name of your blog to "On the Wine Trail in My Recliner." No matter, Happy Trails to you, my friend.

Anonymous said...

I so feel your being on the bridge betwixt and between.
The poignancy of your remark that we can go into our cellar and grab another bottle, but we can't with a loved one is the hardest part about our getting to this point in our life. Loved ones lost is the most painful emotions going forward. There's no going back.
I wish you the best.

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