the latest variation of a climate in flux clearly suited the grapevine, as the farmhouse disappears beneath its leaves as if to pull a blanket over and turn in for a nap. the intensity of our lives wants a buffer and a break like this.
inside the shady house i practice a sequence of care rituals that keep me steady to support us to face the world in such a state.
before tending the gardens and the creatures each day, i like to rise early, while no one needs me. i step into the shower for a moment of heat on a body that feels its middling age, then breathe through two, three minutes of cold. the chilly water restores me, somehow, perhaps igniting sisu, perhaps calming what’s inflamed, i picture the neurotransmitters electrified, a beluga layer of resilience forming, waves flowing over my skin and through the pipes to the greywater mulch beds near the foot of the old grapevine. i picture its roots taking a morning drink.
then, i fill the slow kettle and go to the mat to stretch and strengthen a body still waking up surprised to have become a garden-farmer. i picture the grape leaves and i in symbiosis, breathing together.
when the tea is ready i tuck up at the writing desk, writing to clear my head and form the day in my mind. i’ve ceased reading the news; it reaches me anyway, through the grapevine, you might say. buffered by people who know that my mental wellbeing is more critical to sustaining life around me than knowing the latest iteration of a toppling system. perhaps the writing is an extension of the tendrils of the grapevine, coming from the leafy walls, from me-in-this-place.
when i’ve worked in the heat for hours i retreat back under the leafy blanket. this time to dream, a meditation nap, yoga nidra. lying on the wooden floor aligns me, my brain smooths out calm and energetic. this half-nap is an antidote to age and the anxiety of the times, to a scattered mind. i take it like a trip, at once decadent and essential, to take care of myself so i can take care of others. it is a half hour escape to right here.
if we can, later we cycle to the water and swim, another cool immersion, lowering the core temperature of our bodies, before the farm is tucked into bed for the night. soon, the grapes will feed us, first as grape leaves fermented in brine, then as verjus to acidify preserves, next as fruit to eat and press and ferment and jam and jelly and dry and freeze. then the leaves will fall away just as we need the light.
if you missed the film, ‘grapevine’ watch it on appleturnover here.
thanks to the letter patrons for bolstering my courage every week. you sustain me. this is a remix of a piece from a year ago— i revived my cold water showers for summer though not daily, and have been swimming often, i even learned to snorkel in the sea and saw the most beautiful white jellyfish. are you a wild swimmer?