I was sitting in my home office yesterday, eyeballing my lengthy to do list, when a friend texted to arrange for us to have dinner. I grabbed my diary and began to thumb through it, past the end of this month and into the next, until at last I found an open night. I penned his name in the six o’clock spot, mentioned it to Sonja. Then I went back to work with the horrible realization that summer, as defined by the time I’m not required to be at school at seven in the morning and only allowed to pee when a bell indicates that I may (if I hurry) like some sadistic pavlovian experiment, is nearly at an end.
This happens once a year. I am enjoying myself naively when suddenly something reminds me that it is late July. B-b-but, I haven’t finished my novel yet, I think to myself as I flounder in a tide of disappointment. Don’t get me wrong — as a teacher I also have a very real excitement and an energy for going back, and yet I realize that before there comes another June there will first come another February. The slog is bearing down on me.
With that in mind, I was all too eager to hand out with our neighbors last night on the front porch. Good friends we’ve now known for close to three years, they arrived around eight bearing a massive tray of meat and cheese and a bottle of wine. We whiled away the evening enjoying the weather, waving to passersby, swatting one another’s mosquitos, and catching up on the past few weeks of life. At one point, another neighbor-friend walked past with his dog and we invited him up for a glass of wine as well, this event staunchly reinforcing for me my love of front porch culture and my gratitude for the terrific people who live in our neighborhood.
We had a few bottles last night, but one of them was a standout that I hadn’t had before. The 2014 V Madrone Zinfandel hails from an historic Napa property that sits on the northern end of Highway 29. It was recently purchased by a group of friends and purposed into the AXR winery, but they kept the V Madrone label as well. Dark in color and firm in the mouth, the V Madrone Zin hosted a complex array of flavors, including boysenberry, cigar box, leather, nutmeg, and black currant. This past weekend, my mom served a blueberry jam that came from Maine and consisted of tiny blueberries not fully boiled down from their form, and it reminded me of that. Rich and a bit jammy with elegant structure, I was absolutely taken with this wine and highly recommend it.
Yesterday, I had my annual moment, that moment when I realize that summer has passed and, even more ominously, that it has taken two more months of life along with it. Looking back over them, they were good months, great months even, and I am optimistic that I can have more terrific months ahead, even if it comes with a little less liberty than a person might otherwise appreciate. But between now and then, and hopefully well into the fall as well, I’m going to get as much mileage out of this good weather and that front porch of ours as possible. Swing by for a glass of wine anytime.
Cheers to another great summer, which isn’t quite over yet,