Sunday, November 05, 2023

Remember Me? I'm Your Brother

From the archives: Grappling among the Offshoots ~ Gaglioppo and Nerello Mascalese

I’m the one who played tag with you and listened to you sing and play the piano. I’m the one who fell, more than once, sometimes just to the earth and sometimes out of sight. I’m your brother.

In the vineyards, when the grapes were full, you called from afar to pick the ripe ones for wine. You made pasta and poured red wine and gave shelter for the time. And when the harvest was over you bid adieu, until the next time you were in need. You paid just enough to make it through the winter.

When I was little, you were grown-up. You led. I followed. And I followed you to the edge of the mist and then you disappeared. When I traveled to another land, our only connection was through our veins and our memories.

Years later, when I stumbled and fell, you picked me up and brought me back. When I was healthy you sent me back out again into the fog. It was there I had to survive or die. I wouldn’t take another grafting.

When I finally laid down my roots, in a place where my roots were never meant to take, it was years of day and night, heat and cold, year after year. It would never make for greatness, not like in the places from where we came or where our grandparents came. It wasn’t stellar, but it was steady.

When the little ones around us grew and took to going their own ways, I’d wait under the sun and the moon to hear from you, hoping, wishing we still had a connection. After all, I’m your brother.

As your sign ascended ever higher and higher, and mine had me going deeper and deeper, I wondered how we came from the same parents. You sought light and peace. I sought depth and understanding. Our philosophies diverged ever so much more, greater and greater grew the gulf.

It was as if we were from two different universes. Yours was on the top of the hill, full of attention and drama. Mine was on the corner of a slope somewhere, hoping for a little more light before the sun set. Pushing out a little more of the fruit and the passion.

You probably thought I was still the baby. After all, I came last and who knows if I wasn’t a mistake, an afterthought. But here I was, filling up the ridge with my tendrils, reaching where? I did not know.

Now we are all older, even the offspring. Now the days are shorter. And fewer. And still we’re a million miles from where we started. And a million more from each other. Remember me? I’m your brother.

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