The fortifying balance I am talking about is nature, profoundly yes, and people too. I am working really hard right now to be mindful of them all
Taking off my shoes really helps. I slow down. The dawn path to the pony corral to feed La Petita becomes an exercise in grounding. It is never pain-free, but that is fleeting. I feel, see, appreciate – switch on to – so much more.
The village church bell chimes. The carpenter bees, the enormous iridescent blue-black creatures that bumble loudly past my nose, are like something out of Gotham City. At first sight they can appear terrifying, threatening, but they are neither. They are wondrous. How they view me is another matter. Stopping to appreciate one (and, subsequently, the tumult of pollinators working the honeysuckle) my focus lengthens through the olives to the two-second pinch of yellow as an oriole speeds on the wing. I move on and stop almost immediately again at a river of tireless ants that has washed a course through the straw-dry grass.
Reality is deeply complex and yet, bizarrely, the things most immediate, matters that we can touch, see and feel, are shunted from conscience and understanding by the tangle of the intangible.
With so much on all our minds right now, the what ifs, the perils, the possibilities for our State, our world, I find it is essential to seek this balance.
I don’t know about you, but the daily flurry of grim or worrying news, conjecture half the time, increasingly a bare-faced lie, is like being punched. I bruise. It is important to have causes, matters we believe in. But I need fortitude. My mind, the organ with an often-unhealthy dominance over the rhythm of my days and my mood, is becoming addicted to anxiety and nonsense and knows where it feed it, through social media, radio and news channels I think I trust. There is no limit to the number of things to grow this addiction, but there is a limit to what I can take.
The fortifying balance I am talking about is nature, profoundly yes, and people too. I am working really hard right now to be mindful of them all.
Winemaker Agusti has just been to check on our vines. By the time you are reading this the lanes of the Priorat will be purring, not with carpenter bees but tractors, carting grapes to cooperatives and cellers: The ageless, steady rhythm of community and hearts, of fruiting and harvest. Honest toil, touching the earth, sharing and working together in balance. Sustenance.
We have been members of our cooperative for 11 years. 2017 marks its 100th anniversary. At the birthday celebration wise words were written large upon a wall, summing up what it means to be right here, part of what is important and real. Such security and purpose seems such a rich privilege, yet it is right here and free and suddenly obvious, like the carpenter bees and ants. Simple truths fortify beyond measure, whatever happens in the days and years ahead. We need context.
“This is our place in the world.”