Mike walks around his small barrel room. He thinks of tasting, but just wants to walk around. Look at them with no real intention other than to look, realize where he is, what he’s doing. When he taught English at the community college he’d always talk about the “magic of the meta”. Not complicating, not overanalyzing, just knowing intimately where you are, what you do, why you’re there and the character you are as a result of being there.
He walks, can smell the wines but not as much as last week. He hadn’t done a sulfur hit in a while, and that was intentional. Didn’t want to scare the juice, or try to force it to do something or saying something, express voice it wasn’t meant to communicate.
Changing his mind, he grabs a thief from his workbench, the one his father built for him. Picks a barrel, no method or plan, or foresight. Just picks one. Syrah, block 3, lot 4E. In, out, seeing the color encourages Mike that he’s doing the right thing, that he needs to today taste. Puts a bit in a glass, about two ounces, possibly a bit more. Tasting, he didn’t feel anything he recognized since the last touch, which was…. Didn’t matter. He spun the deep, night-like tide in his glass. Put her closer to his senses, what was that. He doesn’t know. Mike dumps the rest back into the barrel, tastes from another. Same. What is she saying today, to him and only him. Is she telling him to back off? He doesn’t want to taste from anything else. To gun shy, wine shy, now shy.
Mike forces himself to walk toward the other door, then outside to the block, “3-4E” as he wrote it in permanent on barrel head. He looked at the vineyard, and only wants to walk. The spell, in steps, around the block, blocks.
Mike gets to tasting room, early.
Counter still stained from reds, from previous day.
Opens register quick…
Mike reuses to be busy just to be busy.
Opens each wine in the flight, notes on each. He does this most mornings, but this morning he’s more than trenchant with and intent in each wine.
His focus should always be the wine, speaking it, connecting people with wines they love and that speak to them. Not going done a to-do checklist. What’s more important, he always says to himself, getting in character to speak wine, sell like they want you to, or arrange the kitchen area when it doesn’t need to be, do it ’cause it’s on a goddamn checklist?
all interpretation and meditations leaning toward more. More exploration, more scenes, more looking around and acknowledging Now. Nothing behind, all ahead and in front of me asking to be experienced. What am I doing here, accepting any order, any regulatory, any institution. More, on that Road, the music, lights, cars, families traveling in winter or whenever. Sitting on unfamiliar boards, me…
No nap, today, fought against pull and push to do so. Thanksgiving over, wife out shopping at one of those shopping special eve whatever’s. Me, home. Wine. Just finished glass of Claret. The night passed with such cruel progression. Indifference. Babies asleep upstairs. What movie do I watch, my dilemma. My life’s trouble. Think of how fortunate I am with my family and to have such family, to be sitting where I am, here on this we seek to shed, new one one the way… Day of giving thanks, I need to show more giving of thanks, being thankful.
Tonight, I do intend exploring more wine. No aim to wake at 4am or 4:10 like this day. No. I may actually just sleep in. I will. What do I mean, “may”? May have to punch out. Take the night as it approaches me, describe and translate it, or in such order reversed… then wake tomorrow with more thought. More story. More ME. Tired now, forgetting I’ve been up since 4-something. Think 4:10. Has it been that long? Yes. It has. Me, that writer. Now. Time to Self and I sip wine and be here, writing. A writer.
Does the writer want apple pie or Chardonnay? Both sound like they sound, their own precise appeal and connection. I’m not torn between both but urge to be curved by both, somehow. 9:08. Feel like bed but I won’t. I can’t. But more, I refuse. Why can’t I be a human, just have dessert or drink wine. Is it that complicated? Are my thoughts the hinderance, the block and or impediment? I think it may be just that. Not in any kind of a writing swoop, and I can’t figure anything of it out. How does pine figure. What type a figure be me, I, this writer.
I feel like I’m not doing a thing, while doing too much. A mess. Should have taken a nap.
Wine never needs to frame complicated. Wine should never direct prolix. She’s inviting, approachable, narrative and affectionate. What’s surrounded by curved glass reads a presence, a prophetic face and storm of versifying lines.
After a day, working, wine waits, debates her approach to me, my life and day and immediate room. The room, now, connotative in resonance, assurance, a perceptive seat. I’m at a table with her, being instructed, listening,eating leftovers and coaching me on Now, this doesn’t have to be layered or codified, and sort of sophisticated set.
Haven’t touched this glass. But the visual and nearness has me. Inward recite, and known night, thrown toward a lone vinified light.
Guy with guitar, just stared playing again.
Doesn’t know why he hasn’t played in so long. Can’t remember when he played it last. When he bought it.
He just plays with the chords. Plays. He just got home from work. Clock hurls time at his eyes, 9:47. He has to be in office at 7:15 for a client meeting. He doesn’t care. He plucks, picks, strings. He thinks he’s playing chords dragging across the strings, but he doesn’t know. No cares. He’s playing. Just playing.
He writes a line. A chorus, or start of verse. He does this from now till one again, but not like this. Not with the strings out. “End of day, a little way from anywhere…” what next. No idea. Back to strings.
Last night not opening anything resplendent. Just taking the rest of the Cabernet I opened night prior. And, frankly, it said nothing to me. Nothing at all. An idea for a short, from my character Kelly as you might forecast, her first day in the wine industry, being walked around the crush pad and seeing the production crew cleaning and steaming barrels, sulfuring some lots before harvest arrives. She thinks to herself the she wants that, to make something, to give something life, to contribute to wine’s vivacity and composition. My relationship with wine changes, as I age. No longer, and I mean NO longer, do I want to be in that tasting room. I want to write her, wine, and that’s it. Kelly, the avatar for all wine should represent. She’s in the industry as an invaluable antithetical.
He sits down at his desk. That same desk. He could do it, today. Why not. Why not today. He missed the drives by the vineyards, his parents’ house that overlooked that canyon, and again with vineyards just down the road, Highway 12. Int he East Bay all there were, freeways. Traffic. Angry people honking and not caring if they almost hit you with their car or actually do hit you. He’d tell Rick that he was quitting, today. How much notice should he give? How should he do it? Should he tell him, just tell him, or give some kind of lead in…
“When you get a second, I need to see you.” Rick says, hovering over his desk. He always did that, but Jack usually saw him approaching. But this morning he was so deep in his ‘what would he say’ inner laboratory and workshop that he forgot he was at his own desk.
Rick walks away and back into his office to make a call. “Okay,” Jack thought, “I’m leaving, I’m leaving, I’m going back to Sonoma County.” And it wasn’t just the job, it wasn’t the insurance business, it wasn’t even really the East Bay. He just wanted to do what he wanted, or start on his path to. Wine. Wine. He wants to make wine. He’s wanted to make wine for a few years, now. Made wine with his sister a few years back, but it just sat in barrel and became more or less and experiment, to see how long it could stay palatable in barrel. He dreams of his label.. his bottle types and what wines he’d make. “Cab…. Merlot… a blend… Chardonnay like Rachel.” He always admired his sister and what she’s done, how she got to where she did, just working hard and not compromising, ever.
“Jack! Come here, please.”
Jack’s thought stream and visuals, the inner gallery of possibility and dreams torn in half by the agent’s voice. He walks in, knowing what he’d say. He would do it. Tell him. Take back his life and be back in a vineyard, starting somewhere, doing something, something with wine.. no more auto policies or deductible talk, no more working up quotes for people that know they have to have insurance but don’t want to spend money on something not at all fun…. He wanted barrels, early mornings cutting fruit from vines, a glass.
“Okay, sooooooo…. You forgot to call back a couple clients and they’re not too happy with us. I need you to work up new quotes for Patria Mockey and Derrick Smote, and then I need you to drive out to 68th Avenue and do some measurements on a house. What’s going on with you, lately? Do you even want to write insurance, get your license one day, have your own office? ‘Cause I thought that’s what you wanted.”
“I’m moving back to Sonoma County.”
Rick doesn’t know what Jack just said. Stares. Stuck. “To do what?”
“Make wine. Be happy. I don’t want this.”