No matter how life gets me down-because there are thousands of walruses beaching themselves in Alaska, because it’s 78 degrees in October in the northwest, because we are yet again bombing to end terrorism (an oxymoron for sure), because mercury is retrograde and the full moon is eclipsed which invites our shadow selves to come out come out wherever they are- solace is always to be found in my garden. In this morning’s blessedly cool mist, a few little birdies told me that if I didn’t come and get my grapes, they would.
So before I even had my first cup, with my heart still full of fear and doubt and despair over the state of the world and my loathsome feeling of helplessness to stop the madness, I grabbed my clippers and my biggest bowl and got out there. I’ve watched these champagne grapes grow and ripen from tiny little sprays to clusters of dangling green that slowly over the season darkened to purple black. These delicious grapes I’d cultivated from a cutting in a friends yard years ago, the ones I’ve been tasting every few days testing for their sweetness, are finally ready for harvest.
I clip the clusters catching them in my hands and gently place them in the bowl which fills long before harvesting is over. Another large bowl and my big flattish basket are soon filled too. I offer some to a neighbor walking by and his little boy says “Whoa!” when I place a gorgeous cluster in his small hand. As they walk on, I hear his high pitched voice. “I like these” he says.
Every time I look again, I spy another bunch hiding under a grape leaf. I cut and gather and it reminds me that despite our human folly, nature keeps doing her thing, growing as best she can and giving up her bounty in Autumn. And I am blessed to be the recipient of her harvest. Of course, I eat some as I go and sugar bursts in my mouth. Then my teeth chomp on the seeds within their pulpy flesh. We are not used to grapes with seeds anymore. When I crunch into them, I feel connected to ancient things, before hybridization and GMO’s and human intervention on a molecular level. I remember how I used to spit seeds out when I was a kid. Now, I munch them with gusto and swallow with gratitude for this rapidly disappearing grape lineage.
My mind swirls. What will I make with them? Liqueur, grape jelly, juice, maybe wine. Inside, the grapes look magnificent on my Samhain table scape. As I snap a photo, I notice I feel better.
I grab a brown paper lunch bag and write “seedy but delicious, enjoy!” on it and fill it for my next door neighbors. I can feel my Ancestors between the worlds nodding in agreement.