Monday, March 01, 2010

Summerland, Greening, Memory

Images from Paso Robles, CA, February 2010

One purpose of this roadtrip was to get away from the deep winter cold and snow of the Midwest. In California and Oregon, where I spent most of my time, it may be winter still, full of rain and clouds and storms, but to me, it's like spring and summer.

I have been storing up memories of the greening to take back with me, to keep me warm and alive through the remaining winter in my own lands, till the green returns there, as well, some months from now.

Trees are flowering. Bees are working the flowers. The rains come and go, and the land is greener than usual this year because of the long rains.

Paso Robles is an excellent wine-making area in California. In fact, in my opinion, most of the best wines currently coming out of California come from Paso Robles. I'm not an expert, that's just an opinion based on experience, tastings, and my own preferences. Paso Robles was where the native zinfandel grape was discovered; there's good water here, good terranes, and a long history of exploring new ideas in making wine. There are a lot of younger winemakers here, trying new things out, pushing the edges, and also respecting the families and traditions from which they come.

I like the accepting and open vibe of the place. To me, Napa Valley has become staid and predictable, dominated by conservative if classic wines. Paso is where some of the Napa winemakers have gone to try new things. Not all of them succeed—but a surprisingly high number of them do. That's how good the terranes are in Paso.

In winter the vineyards are resting. The vines are tied up and ready to grow, but not yet. The hills are covered with vines prepared for the next growing season, still resting, not yet buddinng with new leaves and vines. Nonetheless, even the bare vines are evocative of the greening, of the next harvest, of the wine of life and eros. Dionysus may be asleep right now, but he is turning over in his bed of leaves, ready to wake soon, and soon to dance and drink and sing as always.

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Blogger Elisabeth said...

It is exciting traveling on this journey with you. Art. We get to enjoy the view without leaving our chairs, while you do all the driving and the work.

These shots are uplifting - this promise of spring and these golden skies.

Over dinner tonight we talked about the first day of autumn in Melbourne and of how already you can see that the light is changing and that the sun has lost its sting.

For us autumn leaves soon, for you more blossoms.

3:40 AM  
Blogger Art Durkee said...

Thanks, Elisabeth.

Those hemispheric mirrors do turn things over for oneself, don't they? Autumn and spring at the same time. I wonder how many writers and artists think that far outside their own regions? It's true that travel broadens, I believe, if only that it gives one perspective that different things happen in different places at the same time. It's warm and cloudy here in Portland, this morning; but by nightfall I'll probably be a few thousand feet higher in elevation, and it will be closer to winter again. I'm going to stop at a favorite waterfall on the way up the Columbia River Gorge, heading east, and gather to me a little last green time, before going on.

11:46 AM  

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