Dead To The World
It’s that time of the year again:
“Wine is a bridge, between the two worlds, the living and the dead. Harvest is a story of death, of profound undoing. The grapevines, which began to grow as Winter faded, opened into the morning of Spring, and pushed forth green shoots, and the shoots opened into leaf and stem, then into flower, and tendril. The flowers opened into fruit, and the shoots grew long, and the vines became dense and laden with fruit, and the fruit changed from green to black and swelled with juice and grew sweet in the sun—a pinnacle!
And one cool morning the fields thrummed and creaked with the labor of the pickers, the flash of picking knives, the thumping of cluster into bucket, the snap-cracking of canes, the rumbling of truck engines, the fading human voices.
Then, in silence, the year was cut off, the season spent, the leaves yellow, fallen, the swarms of starlings crying out for the lost fruit, for the dying sun. It was over, so fast.”
My friend Tom Rozum did a drawing that accompanied the above text in our Newsletter from 1998, one that captured much of what I felt, as I passed through Harvest each year (or, to put it another way: as Harvest passed through me, each year). It was an image that contained the energies of both creation and death, with a breath-taking equanimity and joie de vivre. No mean trick.
A few years later I decided there was no better way to capture the spirit in the bottle, when we produced our first wine from a planting of Gamay Noir, (for which we had chosen the name Bone-Jolly) than to use Tom’s wonderful drawing, and add a bit of color: the red of Gamay leaves after picking, the red of blood, of wine. A little text to elaborate the theme:
“Life is so serious, pleasure hard won.
In perfect balance, a man with life’s weight
On his shoulders (Gravitas) smells a bouquet
Of violets, and his spirit soars out
Over this weary world. A jolly-ness (la Jouissance)
Ignites in his bones.
He laughs in the face of death, and the dead
Laugh, too; it’s a joke
Shared across the abyss…
May it be so.”
Well. Goodness, it’s nice to have a wine for such occasions, and that’s the idea at the heart of Bone-Jolly, but even when that’s not possible, it would be nice to have that image in front of you, don’t you think?
So, now, you can hang it on the wall!
Here’s a handsome, suitable-for-framing, 16″ by 20″ poster that’s bound to pretty up any room you might decorate with it. Nice gift idea. Great while bobbing for apples! Only twelve bucks. (Batteries and tie-dyed T-shirts not included, postage and handling extra)
Snow’s gonna come and the frost’s gonna bite;
My old car froze up last night.
Ain’t no reason to hang my head,
I could wake up in the mornin dead…
(copyright © JR Robertson, 1969)