A few days ago, I was thinking about what to write next for this wine blog. I was thinking about what type of story could be told considering the worldwide issues with coronavirus and the fears of so many. What could I say about our new normal that hasn’t been said or thought already? Everyone is home paying attention to the news, and realizing for the first time in our lives that we are essentially not in control of our own destiny, at least for the time being. But what about the struggles of Italy, and the rest of Europe for that matter, at this very unsure time?
And then I realized from a very spiritual place the meaning of spring, and how it represents birth and rebirth. Most of Italy (and parts of Europe) is farmland. And on these farms, the vineyards. Many of the grape growers I know have hunkered down. They, for the most part, have what they need by living on the land, and no reason to leave. It is the city shopkeepers that are on the front lines with the city dwellers.
The farmers are tending to the fields, making sure that bud break, the first stage of growth for a wine grape, is free of any stresses would cause difficulties for September’s harvest. This is work that ordinarily would be done anyway, but it has new meaning in this extraordinary time, how important it is to pay attention to the land without any distractions. Everyone that I have spoken to in the country is planting and tending their gardens in addition to the vineyards. Right now, the weather is the only thing that is perfect. And we all obviously hope that it stays seasonally consistent.
But real problems for these farmers lie ahead. Germany is already reporting difficulties with border crossings. Early harvest fruit and vegetable growers are worried that the estimated 180K seasonal workers from the southern parts of Europe will not be able to move as freely as usual. And here’s my point: We are a small world that has just discovered we have a problem with COVID-19 that knows no boundaries. And yet it’s still spring: the season of new beginnings.
My opinion will always be to support doctors and scientists. I’m also a big fan of trying to eliminate hunger worldwide. This situation does not help to keep food on the table and people working. But it does remind us to open our eyes and realize that we’re all in this together. Not for today, but for always. We all need to eat, and we all still need each other. And when we finally get this coronavirus under control, it will be wonderful to celebrate spring. In fact, I’m dying to yell “it’s spring!” The planting season and the birth of new beginnings.