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06.26.2007

Aw, Hail!

Brothers and sisters, gather round and hear me! I stand before you today, as I have many days before, with the demand that you elevate yourselves for a moment out of the toils and troubles of your daily lives.

I know. I know.

We are not accustomed, in this day and age of endless work, constant travails, and countless other demands on our time, to stepping away from all of this in order that we might contemplate the beauty and the terror of the world in which we live.

For many of us, a sacred glass of wine, enjoyed in quiet solitude or with those who mean the most to us, is the closest we get to a reprieve from the dust storm of our daily existence. And who among us has not simply enjoyed that glass, and all the magic it contains, with little thought or consideration for what serendipity of season and coincidence of climate conspired to forge that wine through the crucible of yet another vintage from the earth.

I am here today to tell you that we are all sinners. Each and every one of us with that glass upon our lips. We all commit the sins of ignorance and of complacency. For while we succor ourselves and take pleasure in the fruit of the vine, we do not often acknowledge that we partake of something that is larger than the workings of human hands and minds.

Brothers and sisters we are all recipients of great gifts from Mother Nature. In every glass we find, yes, the hard work of many men and women, but that is not all. Beyond the winemaking there is always something more, something that Mother Nature gives, and something, brethren, that she also takes away.

Nature speaks to us and through us every day. And whenever Nature speaks she speaks with power. Her language is at once both familiar and also far beyond the ken of mortal men and women. We do not know from whence the wind comes, only that it blows both hot and cold, and we are buffeted.

This week, that wind blew cold across the promised land. And from the heavens, ice rained down upon the most young and tender of vines, wreaking havoc. Without warning and without reason.

Cote Rotie. Alsace. Mythical names that we have praised with voices joined together in rapture. Today destroyed by hail.

A dark cloud has passed before the sun, casting our vintage in shadow.

As devoted followers of the vine, we must humble ourselves in the face of Nature's vicissitudes. This is not the first, nor the last time that the aims of man and the vagaries of weather have been at cross purposes. We must accept it, for there is nothing else to do.

But in our acceptance, let there be compassion -- compassion for those who toil in the path of the storm. Those who labor against the difficult odds of the world in service of the higher good. To these good men and women, whose lives and livelihoods are even now -- amidst turmoil, disappointment, and financial strife -- in service of the higher good, let us give thanks.

And let us also give thanks for the opportunity to cherish that which we might not have considered; to value what we might have just as easily ignored; to celebrate those gifts for which we too often receive without thinking.

Wine is a privilege and a sacrament, and we should never forget it. Join me in the silent enjoyment of a glass together, that we may lend our dearest thoughts to those in need.

Let us drink.


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Comments (13)

Bertrand wrote:
06.27.07 at 1:04 AM

Great post, Alder!

Mariëlla wrote:
06.27.07 at 5:38 AM

Inspired!

doug wrote:
06.27.07 at 8:35 AM

very nice post, grounding

winehiker wrote:
06.27.07 at 9:16 AM

I want to drink what you're drinking!

Alder wrote:
06.27.07 at 9:21 AM

A couple of people have sent me e-mails saying "Huh?"

Think Reverend Jesse Jackson as you read it. Maybe that will help. This is the one time I can think of where I wished I had a podcast...

David C wrote:
06.27.07 at 11:25 AM

Good show, Alder. Best o' the blogosphere, is my vote. You channel southern preacher pretty good for a self-professed hyper-rationalist!

-dc

Jerry D. Murray wrote:
06.27.07 at 3:31 PM

Amen!

The lord said "plant the vine in marginal climates and you shall live on the edge; on one side will be an abyss of mediocrity on the other a sea of marvelous wine. But plant your vines in a safe climate you will not know my wrath, nor will you know my blessing".

Alder wrote:
06.27.07 at 3:52 PM

Can I get a Hallelujah from the chorus?

Bettina wrote:
06.28.07 at 12:03 AM

hallelujah!

you are a poet and a preacher.

knew the former, didn't know the latter, who knew

why we like you!

keep it up.

06.29.07 at 12:06 AM

May I add my hallelujah to the chorus' voices?
Great, inspired comment from which we have to learn what Horace, some two thousand years ago, advised to us (Carm., 1, 11): Tu ne quaesieris, scire nefas...Don't ask the Gods about our Future, it'ns not allowed.
Carpe diem, quam minime credula sis postero!
Let us drink the glass of wine we have today. Tomorrow, Future, never exists.
Joan

jon o wrote:
06.30.07 at 6:55 PM

totally... (goes off to have a mindful glass)

Ron S wrote:
07.10.07 at 5:00 PM

Praise the lord. AMEN!!! Guess you might call this sermon on the vine.

ABDrury wrote:
07.20.07 at 10:17 PM

Thank You.

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