A Dispersing Joy: Wine, Evening and Desire

Sep 8, 2010

I have the most trouble with the passing of time. There is inside me this grievous difficulty, a rebellion but also a petulant child screaming to re-exist in a certain moment and cherish the evolving echo of its passing. . 

I long for the recapture of a given moment. Nothing gives me greater pleasure than the joy of thinking that somewhere in our lives there is a door, an entrance into which we can briefly  re-enter the previous places we have seen, been, encountered and experienced.

Don't let time go, don't. 

But it does. It runs through our hands like flowing water from a tap, like wine across our palates. We pick up drops here and there but the flow is unkind, it is heavy and we are given only the wherewithal to indulge what we touch. Everything else seems to be meant for something, a somewhere else we can only imagine. Just as the water slips around us, just as the wine escapes into our bodies, all of it ends up in the drain, into the void after the present.

This evening I went to a trade tasting at Ravine winery. I got there shortly after six and slowly more people arrived from different wineries throughout Niagara-on-the-Lake. We stood outside amidst cast iron bar stools surrounding an outside bar. Wine bottles arrived, placed on the bar or in the steel ice cooler. Bottles from Cattail Creek, Marynissen, Josephs, Pillitteri, Konzelman, Coyote's Run. The green vines, the dark sky. The winery owners brought out various foods - pizza, deli meats, different cheeses and artisan breads. The vineyard fell away below us. Wine after wine, the creamy chardonnays traveled over my palates followed by the buxom and hearty red currant reds. My eyes felt softer, my brain and soul kinder in the enveloping spell of wine. (I fell in love with Pillittteri's meritage, Exclamation and Konzelmann's Heritage along with Strewn's and Stonechurch's Chardonnays.)

I chatted with co-workers, I watched the sky. It had been overcast for several hours. Then, throughout the tasting it burst here and there. The sky sobbed, the drops like pebbles. We scurried to one side of the bar to avoid getting wet. I didn't care. I got lost for a moment. Brown eyes blinked. They haunted me and I flirted with their owner the one in the white shirt, a beautiful brunette here and there during the tasting. Oh, her eyes and her high cheeks that infuriated me with longing. I thought of Madalena in La Dolce Vita, how close, how far, the woman lost in the castle. Her lips seemed innocent, unaware of the affect of her eyes and cheeks. Yes, she worked at the winery, yes, she recognized me from before and when she noticed the wind was picking up, she rushed inside to flip a switch and bring the delicate green awnings in.

Why do women do such wondrous things, say what they say and disappear? She asked me about the kind of songs I played. I talked and talked but being drunk, I only knew half of what I was saying. My heart sped after her, to find a way in. That's all I wanted. A doorway to her approval. But it's as if my soul had run out of breath in the pursuit.

She disappeared, the girl with the brown eyes who rescued the awning. She went away with her white shirt and black cargo pants. I saw her feet in the sandals, I saw her amidst the other heads but little else. Gone. First she left me for the other side of the bar. Then truly gone. In her wake, I spoke in German with a girl from another winery. I understood her words and spoke the best I could. But the brunette with the almond eyes had left and that was that.

But I know where she works but I don't want to chase her like dreams I can't get back into.

Yes she left and I went inside the bar area with three co-workers, one an older gentleman and two young ladies I work with. In my secret heart I have a spiritual crush on both of them and desired their nearness. One, yes, another brunette with a gentle face, the sweet, kind expression of someone who wants to listen but you want to put your head on her shoulder. And the other, a red head with a voice that could take you into both the future and the past. We talked and the rain fell, we four and the older gentleman told us about  a previous wedding at our winery, restaurants in New York, meeting Mr. Antinori, concerts he drove his daughter to. We listened.

The red sky crept down below the vineyards. The rain chatted with the grass.I wanted more wine and more wine but it was getting closer to going. Someone stoked a fire at the far end of the outside bar, the flames shooting up, the shadows scattering and wandering back along our faces as the fire settled. The rain pelted on the iron roof and the lull of conversation felt like an ocean going back and forth above our words.

The last of the red sky blinked away and the black-blue fade of rain blew wet misted kisses at our skin. A rain that continues and disperses a crowd.

Let me go back in time, just once, just once. Let me. There is no one there to caress or hold but the nearness is like a heartbeat outside of my chest. I feel this ongoing burst of dreams, a drunkeness, a melancholy, a wonder, a wistfulness, a tenderness that merges goodbyes with the ensuing gasp of downpour.

So it goes. I would have liked to kiss the hands of those two girls, and also the brunette.  I could have and I couldn't. I can't. But it's not like that. I don't want to give the kiss of taking and having, of chivalry. Not a kiss that signals possession, a boyfriend's gesture but a kiss that speaks about letting go, letting others stay extraordinary, who they are. Like tasting a wine and knowing its beauty but not drinking it. I want to experience a brief bridge to beauty. 

Sometimes, when I'm a little drunk I want to walk up to strangers in the streets, in the malls and let them know how much magic exists in their skin. How often are we told how wonderful we are? 

These faces, all these faces, I wanted to watch them leave, as if I could be a god and let them go. But the skin, skin haunts me, a human fabric that wafts and waves, the scent, a lavish bouquet conspiring to both lead me on and push me away.

I wish I could be detached but the desire that seeped into me this evening cannot be readily dispelled. The lights of cars in the gravel drive flicker through me. The vineyards are behind the darkness, the sky rains and the elaborate past comes back to me, taunting me like a song whose title I cannot recall but the verse is fresh, fiery and filled with another memory I will never access. The past is in the void, a wine we dimly remember but I retain it, my imagination and memory fighting for the truth because not everything we remember is what was.

And so it goes, here I am, writing and writing and the words I write only insult my longing to have what is eternally gone, retained in the fragments I crush and ferment in my sleepy mind.


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My focus is mainly on wine culture, history and education. I love the stories behind wine - the people, places and the regional personalities of the wine-countries around the world.

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