Spending my days with grapes
“How we spend our days, is, of course, how we spend our lives.”
How are you spending your September days?
Here in the Berkshires, the sun’s heat has softened, the grapes ripen, the peaches live in the cloud of fruit flies on the counter and homework needs doing by the teenager across the table from me. (She who refuses to let me take a photo of her. Believe me, she is there. Sniffing with allergies. Hair wet from a shower. Cheeks all flushed from a bike ride.)
How I spent my day today included two trips to the hardware store, different hardware stores because I melted the hose that siphons boiling hot juice in to jars from my steam juice extractor. It is a bubbly efficient business when it works well, but when it doesn’t, no one much knows how to fix the problem. My friend Janet, who is a preserving maven, suggested it might be time to take a rest from canning, but I am a woman with a mission. Grape jelly is on my mind. Janet and I picked armloads of grapes and since I already have 11 jars of juice put up-deep purple and thick-(you want to visit me this winter on a chilly gray day when I serve you some hot Tulsi tea with a shot of grape juice in it) instinct tells me it is time for jelly.
I am not tired or grumpy about it. My afternoon had room for this running around, in between vacuuming, hanging two loads of wash, and not doing the 75 other things I thought I would do before the original hose melted.
Does this mean I will spend my life running around fixing stuff so I can do the thing I originally set out to do? Or does this mean, according to Annie Dillard, that I will spend my life tuning my tools that I employ to savor the harvest of any one given day? Some days those tools are hoses with an inner diameter of 5/16″ and not 1/4″, other days those tools are Sharpie writing pens or Uniball Signo pens that write on acrylic painted pages just fine or preparing a lunch that won’t wilt in my daughter’s back pack before 11:00 AM.
My tools vary. My mission is consistent.
I am memorizing my own writing for a show I am in next week. It is a funny business, writing my own material. I often read my work in public, but memorizing it means then I have to ACT it and acting means that I have to figure out my motivation in the piece. When I write, I am not always thinking about why. I am thinking about is.
And today is grape juice for jelly day.
Today is September 15. I have been my new age for a week now.
Today is the day I visited with my sister-in-law and learned a bunch of new things about her.
Today is the day I went to yoga and learned a few new things about myself.
I guess I spend my days curious.
Did you get to read much this summer?
I read Euphoria by Lily King and Home by Marilynne Robinson and Ahab’s Wife by Sena Jeter Naslund. I highly recommend each of these books. That was my second go round with Ahab’s Wife and I loved it even more this time.
Do you have any book recommendations?
My friend Lissa Rankin, who has a piece in An Anthology of Babes, has a new book in the works. I got an advanced copy today of The Anatomy of a Calling and I suggest you put it on your gift list. Once I read it fully, I will write more about it here. Lissa has suffered the loss of several people close to her this month and has a new piece about death and the Universe here. Our community in the Berkshires has also had an unexpected death of a joyful, purposeful man, friend, husband and Lissa’s words remind me to stay open in the face of confusing loss.
There is one more seat available in my Sacred Refuge Sunday, which begins this Sunday. If you have been debating about it, now is the time to jump in.
Here is all my love to you and thanks for making Laundry Line Divine part of your day.