Thursday, August 13, 2009

And the sun shines on

Here I am, on my second day back, fighting jet lag. I was able to get up this morning around 8 (tremendously early for me in this state), but went back for a nap at 11:15 -- a sniffle and snore from my own throat awoke me with a start at 11:50 and up I got to prepare lunch for the hard workers. It is table grape harvest time.

JP has welcomed me back with open arms, joy in his eyes, tenderness in his gestures and being. A month apart can seem long, and Shakespeare said it better than all others, "absence makes the heart grow fonder." As they say here, des bonnes retrouvailles. It seems that the reservations he verbalized before my departure for the States have been smoothed over for the moment. And so, are we set for another year of tango lessons, many kids in my house and romantic weekends? not to mention the rhythms of the winery life? I think so. I wonder if I'll hit the wall as I did last year. I hope to get my finances under control and advance my other projects. It will be a very full year to be lived to the utmost. That, at the very least, is not in contention.

I've returned to Provence during the first grape harvest -- not yet time for wine grapes, but for table grapes, eating grapes. And at every meal I'm enjoying an abundance of home-grown organic green grapes. This week's variety is the Chasselas, and as of next week the Muscat will begin. As I get my circadian rhythms back to French time, I'll help a bit delivering the many cases harvested by Gabbi, JP's daughter, to the local organic wholesaler/distributor, BioGarden, run by a very efficient Swiss who's been here for years, and who has the drive, will, and discipline to run a superb shop. For those in the neighborhood, they've a store for drop by clients as part of their operation, open during normal business hours, just at the entry to Bellgarde.

Something I remember being startled by when I first tasted grapes from the market, during that first summer in Arles so long ago, was their incredible sweetness. Raised with American seedless grapes--red or white--being tart, plump, and perfect looking, I didn't know that grapes could be this syrupy. It took me some time to get used to them, and now, I can nearly live on them. In fact, I'm contemplating a mono-diet "cure" of grapes next week. I've friends who've maintained this diet for three weeks. I'm not aiming for a record, but if I make it for a week, I'll be happy.

Eating only grapes can be nourishing. You have to eat the seeds too -- crunch them with your teeth, to get the most out of the nutrients in the grapes. Those who've tried this mono-diet find it both brightens the skin and gives them plenty of energy to keep on with their complicated lives. Yes, it certainly does help one to lose weight, but with any diet, it is not a weight loss that can be kept unless you are quite diligent after going back to normal food. The hardest part is the social factor. How does one not share in lovely meals with friends and family? You do your best to be present physically, but the barrier of not sharing what others have on their plates is nonetheless there and significant.

However, I'm not going to even contemplate it till after the weekend's festivities, including a few dishes made with the tomatoes and eggplant from the garden. I've been missing my summer vegetables, and want to indulge to the fullest before contemplating any limitations. As I've often remarked, I may be crazy, but I'm not stupid.

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