I am immersing myself in all things Camino. During the V crisis, I have dreams of walking the Camino de Santiago a year from now. This morning I am reading Walk in a Relaxed Manner: Life Lessons from the Camino by Joyce Rupp.
As she walked through the vineyards in Rioja, Spain, she shared this Vintner’s Ode poem:
“Back of the vines is the vintner,
and back through the years his skill,
and back of it all are the vines in the sun,
and the rain and the Master’s will.”
I put my kindle down and paged through my memories of the many vineyards I’ve walked, the vineyard managers I’ve learned from, and the vintners who turn this gift of nature into wine.
As I flip through my google photos, a message pops up with a collage of photos from six years ago from the memorial to Alan York, my favorite biodynamic guru.
I remember how much Alan taught me about the biodynamics of nature and fine wine growing. He taught me how to “Wake UP!” and be in the active presence of nature:
As Alan and I were walking through the Cowhorn vineyards, I stopped dead in my tracks and almost shouted at Alan “One of the vines near me is diseased. There is something wrong. I CAN FEEL IT!” He got this great big smile and said “I’ll be damned. You, the knowledge book learning dude, have been paying attention to the experiential learning, not just the book learning. Yes, the vine to your right is indeed diseased. Let’s dig through the dirt to expose some of the roots and I will show you the disease pressure that this vine is under. I am amazed that you could feel what was going on below the ground.” Sure enough we could see the disease and it was the only vine in 40 acres that had this problem. This experience was the outcome of monthly biodynamic day long seminars with some of the best grape growers and wine makers in Sonoma and Napa that I attended for most of two years.
May you rest in peace, Alan York, while the rest of us tend to the roots of the living.