Every week, photographer Andy Katz sends me a new image to post here for your viewing pleasure. I never know what I'm going to get, but I do know that it's going to be good. This week, when I opened his e-mail, something different happened. Everything got quiet, and I smelled freshly cut grass, bee pollen, and felt a warm breeze....
Amazingly, we are not lost, but I wouldn't care if we were. Just as I give up and decide we have no idea where we are, another road sign appears that tells us indeed, we are on our way to Montepulciano. It hardly matters, though, because it is one of the most beautiful days I've ever experienced in my life. I have a gorgeous woman sitting next to me in this little rattle-trap of a rental car, and moments ago, as we snapped our picture standing in a field of orange poppies that stretched out across a Tuscan field behind us, I realized that this was the woman I needed to spend the rest of my life with.
"Yes!" Ruth says, triumphantly, "we're going to get there!" And so we are, winding our way from the walled city of Siena to the picture perfect hill town of Montepulciano where we will wander the cobblestone streets, drunk first with love, and then later with Vino Nobile de Montepulciano.
Suddenly we round a bend and on our right, the hills roll up and away towards the horizon like the frozen surface of a turbulent green sea, undulating and chaotic except for a single oasis of calm. There, amidst the pitching waves of new wheat is a little gem -- a tiny island populated by perfect cypress trees that we recognize instantly as the quintessence of Tuscany.
Ruth and I both immediately have the same longing: to photograph. In the emotion of the moment we naively believe that by fixing this image onto film we will preserve this feeling that runs through both of our veins, and capture this beauty that we have been swimming in for more than a week together.
"Oh my God," she says. "We gotta stop and take a picture of those trees!"
I look at my watch, torn.
"We've gotta be close to Montepulciano by now," I say, anxious about getting there in time to do some serious wine tasting.
"We can get a photo on the way back...." I hesitate for a moment as the urge to stop nearly becomes overwhelming.
"It won't take more than a minute," she says, almost pleading.
But my brain wins over my heart, and the hesitation never completes, and even at the limping pace that our little car can keep, the trees are passing behind us now, and the landscape continues to unroll in front of us, and soon the perfect day fills in the gap and smooths over the little seam that is left in our memory for lack of an image.
And the day was perfect. And the wine was good. And we were in love.
And by the time our little tin can of an automobile rounded that bend in the road again, it was dark. We were sated with yet one more fantastic meal, but not enough to avoid exchanging a glance as that little stand of trees swished by in our mind's eye, and in the darkness outside.
We all carry with us many images, but some seem quite indelible, fused like vertebrae to create the spine of our experience -- the bright line we can trace back through our lives without fail.
Ruth and I will always remember that moment, wistfully, and definitely with a bit of a chuckle. She says "that proves you should always listen to your wife, even if she isn't your wife yet."
And I say that I will never really need that photograph, which is the honest truth. It could never hold what I hold in my mind's eye and in my heart.
But just the same, I know that she is absolutely, positively, right.
And now, thanks to my friend Andy, we've got a photograph of those very same trees.
Download this image by right-clicking on the image and selecting "save link as" or "save target as" and then select the desired location on your computer to save the image. Mac users can also just click the image to open the full size view and drag that to their desktops.
If you are interested in owning an archive quality, limited edition print of this image please contact photographer Andy Katz through his web site.
ABOUT VINOGRAPHY IMAGES:
Vinography regularly features images by photographer Andy Katz for readers' personal use as desktop backgrounds or screen savers. We hope you enjoy them. Please respect the copyright on these images.
A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. 2015 Roederer Award Winner.Learn more.
I'll Drink to That: Nicoletta Bocca of San Fereolo Book Review: Shadows in the Vineyard by Maximillian Potter Wine News: What I'm Reading the Week of 5/8/16 I'll Drink to That: Tom Peters of Monk's Cafe Vinography Unboxed: Week of May 1, 2016 I'll Drink to That: Daniel Brunier of Vieux Télégraphe Vinography Images: Green Gold I'll Drink to That: Angelo Gaja of Gaja Winery Hungarian Wine: Hope, Dreams, Heritage and Progress Wine News: What I'm Reading the Week of 5/1/16
Wine Will Never Smell the Same Again: Luca Turin and the Science of Scent Forlorn Hope: The Remarkable Wines of Matthew Rorick Debating Robert Parker At His Invitation Passopisciaro Winery, Etna, Sicily: Current Releases Should We Care What Winemakers Say? The Sweet Taste of Freedom: Austria's Ruster Ausbruch Wines 2009 Burgundy Vintage According to Domaine de la Romanée-Conti Charles Banks: The New Man Behind Mayacamas Wine from the Caldera: The Incredible Viticulture of Santorini Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Chateau Rayas and the 2012 Vintage of Chateauneuf-du-Pape A Life Indomitable: The Wines of Casal Santa Maria, Portugal Bay Area Bordeaux: Tasting Santa Cruz Mountain Cabernets Forgotten Jewels: Reviving Chile's Old Vine Carignane The First-Timer's Guide to Les Trois Glorieuses of Hospices de Beaune