Notes from the Cellar: Adagio
by Jeff Cox, Wine and Beer Merchandiser
This article was originally published in January 2008
Into every life a little rain must fall. It’s a good thing. So is sleet, snow, frost, thunder and lightning.
For most of us, strolling down First Avenue in the rain, clad in naught but a loincloth may be a little extreme. But still, John Paul Ziller had it right.
Go ahead, hunch your shoulders, duck your head, cower and hide from the falling drops. You’re still going to get wet. Curse and run for cover, just a few more months until spring.
Or, stand up straight, drop your shoulders and just walk. Relax. Let the rain fall, it’s going to anyway. On your face, in your hair. Listen to it whisper in the trees and to the rhythm of big, fat drops on the ground. It’s life-blood for the rivers, nectar for the flora and a samba for any fauna who wanna listen.*
So it’s winter. The sun is two-timing us with the other hemisphere and the meteorological menu offers but two options: a cold, wet blanket of cloud and rain, or the chilly, lonesome glow of the midday sun, low on the horizon.
The vineyard, source of the heady juice of sunlight and a sea of vibrant green exuberance in summer, lies bare. Gnarled trunks extend in stark, mute rows with the perfect geometry of trellises standing silent sentinel. In this cold, seemingly barren landscape, life and light seem little more than a dim memory.
But the curtain hasn’t really fallen and the house isn’t dark. This is where spring really begins. This is the adagio in the symphony of seasons, the part where the tempo slows and the violas, cellos and French horns play the principal theme.
Even as the vines sleep, they’re storing energy, revitalizing the sap that will rise in a few short months as buds break in a brand new vintage — an opus not yet heard, nor to be repeated.
But you can’t hear it unless you listen. In our consumer culture we’ve come to think of endless summer as our birthright. We want good times all the time and that the party should never end. It’s a Top 40 kind of existence and only half a life.
We forget that there’s no light without darkness, no harmony without dissonance and that bitter can be quite sweet — while we wish a good part of our lives away, wishing it were summer.
It’s winter. Be glad. Go outside, the rain won’t hurt you. And turn down the noise so you can hear the violas, they’re playing piano.
* And really, if you don’t like the rain, why not just leave? I’m not the only one who’s tired of listening to you whine and complain. Go. Take your SUV and your bad attitude and head for warmer climes. You’ll be happier and so will we. Ciao, babe.