No one would say daily life in the countryside is glamorous. Your mental space is filled up with ordinary, rural moments, and they mostly happen when you’re alone. Maybe that’s why so many farmers talk to themselves. John isn’t talking to himself yet, but I’m starting to find little notes. Here’s an excerpt.
EveryDay Moments – Winter 2015
Walking across our compound to my office at dawn. Stoking the wood stove to keep my breath from crystallizing in the inside air. Walking back to the house under the early blue-black evening sky. Taking in the first star on the southern horizon.
Time for the December soutirage (racking). Moving the young, maturing wine from tank to tank excites the cold, dark winery with deep red, fruit-fragrant liquid. Cleaning the icy stainless steel tanks from the interior feels like dishwashing from inside the machine.
Living on a farm after decades in dense cities transforms the sense of “inside” and “outside.” Home is no longer defined and confined by walls, windows and doors; just natural light and fresh breezes distinguish what’s in and what’s out.
Another racking in freezing January. I can see my breath as I plunge my hands in water to clean the tubes and tanks. Hands turn black from the deep red wine — at this stage in its evolution it stains everything. The cracks in my skin show deeper, almost a topology.
The damp, frigid leather gloves make my fingers ache; cuts and blisters start to throb. For a moment I miss the days of warm offices and soft keyboards. Images of hotels and airports chase that thought away.
It’s February. Stoke the stove each morning and consult a reliable local weather service. Mixed sun and rain, not a surprise. But warning alarms go off – freezing temperatures are behind us. In a few weeks the thickets and thorny brambles will outpace me – the new green shoots work faster than my hands and my blades.
A sense of urgency to cut, clear, and burn. I must accelerate all my wintertime work in the woods and pastures. Must finish before the buds and sprouts emerge, and the ground and tree branches are swarming with Nature’s teaming hordes.