For some reason, I have a tough time each year letting go of summer and welcoming fall—much as I love both seasons. When the sun takes on a lackadaisical slant and the earth smells wet, it makes my chest swell with a sort of nostalgiancholy. So I thought I’d take a cue from one of Noemi’s alphabet books and spell out how harvest feels to me.
H — Hope. There’s something about harvest that conveys hope to me. It’s the end of a cycle, a time of reaping what was sown in faith knowing it would grow.
A — Abundance. I feel such gratitude during harvest for the abundance that it brings. Some of it is subtle, a smile that creeps up when I smell the last of the tomatoes roasting in the oven. Some of it is intimate, gathering with close friends to laugh and toast and enjoy the fruits of our labor. And some is universal, a feeling that the earth has yielded what it will for this year, and that now is the time for restoration.
R — Rest. I love how the pace here slows as winter sets in — in the vineyards, in our homes. It’s a time when we’re deepening our roots and gaining nourishment to enable the fruits of the next season to flourish.
V — Varied. When I hear people say that California doesn’t have ‘real’ seasons, I always beg to differ (and I grew up in Illinois and Connecticut, so I know what people mean by ‘real’ seasons). No, we don’t get snow (although the Mayacaymas mountains do get dusted every few years, and it is magnificent), but each year I’m riveted by the beauty of the vines in their cloak of colors, and the way the autumn mist brings an otherworldly element to the mornings. We most certainly do have seasons here in wine country.
E — Exuberant. When I think of harvest, I think of laughter. Laughter floating above the vines as we help our friends clip grape clusters row by row. Giggling about garden mishaps that wind up weaving their way into our collective stories. The deep contentment that seems to radiate from people’s faces around the dinner table.
S — Sustenance. Sustenance is about more than just fueling your body with what it needs to survive, it’s about being a part of a larger whole that feeds our soul . . . as is harvest. Sharing the bounty with those we love is just as much sustenance as the fruits of harvest itself.
T — Trust. I sometimes find it hard watching the vines go dormant, the garden laid bare-–both literally and metaphorically. I get impatient for the next season of growth to arrive. But I need to trust-–that the buds will come again, that the fruit will follow, and even that there is purpose to this season of starkness.
This harvest season is heightened for me as we count down the days for Nourish Network’s launch out of beta. It has been a long spring and summer of sowing and hard work and next week, it will all be ripe. You’ll see dramatic changes to the site that will make it much easier to navigate, connect and share. And stay tuned for news on November 2 of an exciting sweepstakes to promote the launch (or shall we say harvest?). Thank you, thank you, thank for your support through this stage . . . I look forward to sharing many more seasons here with you.