Harbingers of spring are arriving in the mail. Seed and plant catalogues arrive weekly and friends eagerly page through them circling flowers, tomatoes and vegetables – revisiting memories of spring days in their garden. For me the anticipation is the thought of pruning vines. Although some may cringe at the thought, and see it as long torturous work, I like it! I look forward to it. The thought of getting back into the vineyard excites me!
In March wife Suz and I head into the vineyard for 6 weeks of pruning. Because I have a day job, I will only prune 3-4 hours a night at first, but our northern location provides sun light until after 10 p.m. by the end of our pruning season. Our winery’s name, Northern Sun Winery, is taken from this uniquely northern advantage to viticulture. Pruning gives us the chance, actually requires us, to absorb spring in ways that many miss. When the process begins there is often snow on the ground and the cold chases us inside before the last of daylight disappears. Still, those days with their late winter charm are wondrous in their own way.
Then, as the nights warm, birds not seen for months start to reappear. My pruning pace slows and my conversation with the dog becomes more philosophical. The most stressful days at the office vanish. Sunsets with subtle to dramatic colors streaking across the sky, and spring peepers, chorus’ of high pitched chirping tiny frogs, serenade us till the last of the day’s light is gone and we retreat. Then we go into the house and drink a glass of last year’s labors.
An insightful person said, “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making plans”, an observation I appreciate more the older I get. The vineyard and winery are busy places with the excitement of new plans ever being chased. Those pursuits are what might be, but our days and evenings in the vineyard are reality. One of the best decisions Suz and I have made is to choose a lifestyle that requires us to play outside in the vineyard almost daily. During our hours of pruning life slows and our minds shed clutter. We enjoy life at its simplest, and sweetest.