Grapes have been called the fruit of the Gods, and as I turn clusters of this divine fruit into dozens of quarts of happy pink nectar, I might agree. But as I’ve cared for our 80 yards and 10 varieties of grapes over the past few years, I’ve discovered this God-fruit is way more than that.
The growing vines, the juicy ripe fruit, the rich bounty that loves to be shared with bees, spiders, birds, and our neighbors…every stage holds lessons for how to live a simple yet abundant life.
So when the grapes talk, I listen.
I had no idea they would have so much to say.
The conversation begins in early spring when the vines begin to sprout and we wonder if maybe we over-pruned last winter after the harvest. But the fresh green shoots grow with abandon and talk of resilience, new life, and the power of growing things. The vines remind me to be both supple and strong, as they grow…and grow…and grow.
Summer comes and goes as the grapes grow silently beneath the leaves, starting as tiny bumps and plumping into juicy morsels while we tend to other growing things. I almost forget to listen, but when I do, the grapes whisper of patience, endurance, and silent grace.
Then autumn bounty arrives and the grapes reveal their true Godliness: holy nectar wrapped in multi-colored skins. The skins give form, but the nourishment comes from the juicy morsels within. It’s time to share…and share…and share.
Even after autumn’s first frost shrivels the leaves, we find clusters of pink-purple fruit still clinging to the vines. The grapes know to save some of their bounty as a gift to the birds when summer fruit is gone. We, too, processed quarts of bright pink juice to savor when winter months call for an extra dose of vitamin C.
Winter is coming and the grapes will begin another cycle, their sap slowing into hibernation. It may appear they are dormant as they patiently wait for warmer weather, but they are really feeding their roots in preparation for another season of giving.
Perhaps this is one of the most significant lessons my grapes have taught me: to slow down, follow the natural cycles of growth, and trust that every season is here for a reason.
The blessings are ongoing. Gratitude is the harvest.