We are having one of those Cape winters I remember from childhood. These past few
weeks have been piercingly cold with soaking rains that continue for days, leaving a
world so saturated it simply cannot absorb a single drop more.
Streams become rushing torrents, dams overflow and everything is wet right through. For the townspeople it is an
inconvenience; for us on the farms and in the cellars it is a blessing that makes us smile every time we hear the patter of rain drops on the roof. For you know, such rain points to a good harvest if everything goes well. Farmers are optimists - we wouldn’t be farming otherwise. We always believe the year ahead is going to be the best ever. It is that
belief that keeps us going. Even if technically, I’m not a farmer, ask me, I know, I grew up on a farm!
And my goodness, it’s been cold at times. I live right next to the cellar, and several times this winter heavy layers of snow have covered the mountains at our back. And while rubbing my hands to get some life back into my fingers, I smile to myself, knowing that this is snow you can bank for summer. As it slowly melts, the water seeps away into our underground reservoirs and you hear the old-timers say there will be no need to irrigate the vines this growing season.
Bursting forth with new life And, of course, the cold is the best thing possible for the vines which have gone into deep
hibernation. All activity in the plants has ceased so that come spring, having preserved all their energy through the long winter months, they will burst forth with new life. Although all activity might have ceased underground, that is not the case above ground. On all the farms teams of workers have been moving among the vines, cutting away the old shoots and leaving only those to be shortened later to become the bearers of the new harvest.
And so the cycle continues.
Talking about cycles: Someone the other day sent me the following quote ascribed to Thomas Jefferson, one of America’s Founding Fathers and its third President: “I find friendship to be like wine, raw when new, ripened with age, the true old man’s milk and restorative cordial.” What a wonderful way to describe wine as an integral part of our lives just as friendship is.
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