4 weeks ago
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
I just got in from doing a little drive-by delivery of Christmas cards… probably could have saved myself some time if I had, 1. figured out how to email graphics and text from home, or 2. used snail mail and planned far enough ahead to ensure delivery was on time.
Anyway, with our annual Christmas Caroling Party under two weeks away, I though I'd better drive the invites and cards to our friends and give them enough advance warning. Hubby says I'm too late already, and should call everyone… but that's just not the same as receiving a paper invite, I think.
As I was driving one direction along Lakeshore Road past the Cedar Creek Winery, I noticed bins in the vineyard, and it wasn't until I was returning that I noticed that there were people in the vines, bundled up in winter garb… and then I knew why. Last night the sky was clear, temperatures dove to -20 C, and that made it the perfect time to harvest the ice wine grapes! I'm sure those workers were out in the dark… maybe even all night, and what I saw was the remaining few rows of grapes still being harvested. It was a quintessential winter Okanagan scene, and it got me thinking.
Not being an expert in ice wine production, I only know a limited amount about the process. But, it's clear to me that the ice wine grapes are left on the vine long after all other wine grapes are harvested. And I'm sure as those grapes hang there through fall and into winter, they are nibbled on by birds, and the leaves fall off exposing them to the elements, and the vines get a little brittle, and the grapes themselves begin to shrivel up and become less than appealing looking. Still they hang there waiting…
And suddenly, without much warning at all, the weather changes and the temperature drops, and it's a perfect combination of time and circumstances for harvest. The call goes out to the workers… get ready… come… it's harvest time!!! And so they come.
Maybe it's this middle aged part of my life that causes me to reflect on things that would normally just pass me by… or maybe God really does speak to me through grapes and birds and flowers and my children and relationships and circumstances? But I can see in those grapes a reflection of my life.
Perhaps you too can relate to this? The days pass by, the years pass by, and many grapes are harvested, made into different varieties of award winning wine, enjoyed, and still I cling to the vine wondering when I will be useful, when I will be harvested. Protective layers of leaves fall off, and I begin to see signs of aging, withering, even shriveling, and still I wait, questioning my circumstances and purpose and worth. I cling, sometimes tentatively, to the vine… and wait.
Then, suddenly one night the temperature drops, and the vineyard owner sends out his message… come… it's harvest time… and then I finally know what it's all been about… this waiting and wondering and questioning and aging… and finally this freezing… it's about the transformation of a quite ordinary grape into something tempered and unique and sweet and wonderful!
That day, harvest day, may not be on this earth, although I hope in part that it is. For me, it might be when something is revealed that I must take a stand on because of my faith in God. Or, it could be watching what God does with my children's lives, because of seeds of faith and passion. Or, it might just be hanging onto the vine no matter what circumstances I'm faced with. Or, harvest might be when I finally get to see Jesus face to face. But I have to hope in the harvest, believe enough to keep hanging onto the true vine long enough to see the day.
Just a few thoughts as I consider the taste of ice wine… cool, smooth, sweet, lingering, and full of the flavour of eternity.
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